A Beginner’s Guide to Breast Reconstruction Surgery
breast reconstruction is the process of rebuilding a breast in a woman – or man – using surgical reconstruction methods. The scientific term is mastectomy and it is almost always used in as a treatment method for breast cancer patients.
With a mastectomy a woman eliminates the chance of redeveloping cancer of the breast, but doesn’t have to part with her breasts. Breast reconstruction is extremely aggressive, but in some breast cancer patients it is the smartest treatment route.
Wanting to learn more about the process involved with breast reconstruction surgery? Here is a beginner’s guide on all of the basics of breast reconstruction.
Who makes a good candidate for breast reconstruction?
As we mentioned before, the best candidate for a complete breast reconstruction is a patient fighting breast cancer who wants to tackle it as aggressively as possible. It is an extremely invasive procedure, so a surgeon will often only perform a reconstruction if you are considered to be a good candidate.
According to plasticsurgery.org, there are 3 stipulations to determining if you are a good candidate:
- You are able to cope with your diagnosis and treatment methods
- Other than having breast cancer, you are generally in good health and have no additional medical conditions that could impair healing
- You have a positive attitude, but also are realistic about your goals for restoring your breast and body image
If you meet these qualifications, breast reconstruction could be the best route for you.
How is breast reconstruction performed?
There are a few different methods for breast reconstruction, and the one that is chosen is based on each individual patient. The most common and most preferred method is immediate reconstruction using an implant. This is only possible if the surgery does not require taking away a significant amount of skin.
This is the simplest type of reconstruction and the recovery time is generally quicker than any other form of mastectomy. The entire procedure can be done at one time and involved cutting away the existing breast and replacing it with a silicone implant.
Are there any potential risks involved?
With any major surgery there are always risks and potential problems. In a mastectomy, there are two types of issues: immediate and long-term. Some problems during and right after the surgery include bleeding, infection, bruising, pain, and blood clot. Longer term problems that are unlikely but still possible include leakage and rupture of the implant, unevenness, and abdominal hernia.
What is the recovery time like?
The recovery time depends on the type of breast reconstruction surgery you undergo. As we mentioned before, the immediate reconstruction with implant generally has the fastest recovery time. Following the surgery you will be given specific directions on how to care your new breast implants. Typically you are allowed to leave the hospital the following day, but it depends on each patient.
Anything else I should know?
It is extremely important to stay “breast aware” and visit your OBGYN for regular breast exams and mammograms. This is especially true the older you get; take control of your own health by scheduling routine checkups.