What You Should Know About Breast Reconstruction
If you have lost one or both breasts due to cancer treatments or are planning a mastectomy, you may be a good candidate for breast reconstruction. Get to visit the best East Windsor, NJ breast reconstructive surgeon who will provide reconstruction services to restore your confidence and rebuild your breast. The surgeon creates a surgical treatment plan for your needs to give you breasts that feel and look natural.
How to prepare for a breast reconstruction
Before the mastectomy, your doctor can ask you to meet with a plastic surgeon. Consult a board-certified plastic surgeon who is experienced in breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. The plastic surgeon and breast surgeon should work hand in hand to determine the best treatment and breast reconstruction process for your condition.
The plastic surgeon will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the surgery on the opposite breast, even if it has no problem matching the reconstructed breast’s size and shape. Surgery to eliminate the healthy breast can increase the risk of surgical complications, such as infections and bleeding. There can be less satisfaction with cosmetic results after surgery.
Before breast reconstruction surgery, follow the instructions given to you by your doctor on preparing for the procedure. This can include guidelines on adjusting current medications, quitting smoking, eating, and drinking.
What to expect
Breast reconstruction starts with a tissue expander or breast implant placement, either immediate mastectomy or during a delayed reconstruction. Breast reconstruction needs several surgeries, even when you choose immediate reconstruction.
A breast implant is a teardrop or round-shaped silicone shell filled with saltwater or silicone gel. If restricted because of safety concerns, silicone gel implants are considered safe. A plastic surgeon will place the implant behind or in front of the muscle in the chest. Implants put in front of the muscle are held using a tissue called acellular dermal matrix. After some time, the body replaces the tissues with collagen. Some women will have a permanent breast implant placed during mastectomy. However, many women need a two-stage process, tissue expander, before placing a permanent implant.
A tissue expander is a process that stretches the remaining soft tissue and chest skin to make room for the breast implant. The plastic surgeon places a tissue expander that looks like a balloon over or under your pectoral muscle during mastectomy. Over the following months, through a tiny valve under the skin, the nurse or doctor injects saline into the valve, filling the balloon in stages. This process allows the skin to stretch.
The latest type of tissue expander uses carbon dioxide—this controllable expander releases the gas internally. Using carbon dioxide can decrease the discomfort that you feel with saline expansion. After the tissue is expanded, the surgeon performs another surgery to remove the expander and replaces it with a permanent implant.
It can be hard to undergo a mastectomy, and having another surgery for reconstruction can be scarier. Recovering from reconstructive surgery and mastectomy at the same time can be uncomfortable in the short term. Still, in the long term, it can be less painful and stressful than having multiple surgeries. Having breast reconstruction surgery is always an option; you should not fear and ensure a certified and experienced surgeon performs it.