If you are considering breast reconstruction surgery, you are not alone. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a woman in the US is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes. Breast reconstruction is often used to restore one or both breasts to normal shape, appearance and symmetry, after going through a procedure like a mastectomy, lumpectomy or congenital deformity.
In addition to the physical surgery, this procedure is often a very sensitive an emotional journey. The compassionate and experienced team at SSM Health can guide you through the process and help you determine the right option.
Questions to Ask Your Plastic Surgeon
To help you begin navigating this journey, keep in mind the following questions when meeting with your breast reconstruction surgeon:
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
- What will be expected from me to achieve the best results?
- How will the procedure be performed?
- How long will the recovery period be, and what kind of help will I need?
- What are the risks or potential complications, and how would those be handled?
- Are there before-and-after pictures of similar procedures?
What to Expect from Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction is performed in stages and often includes multiple steps. In some cases, reconstruction can begin at the time of your mastectomy, or could be postponed until a later date.
Types of Breast Reconstruction
The type of breast reconstruction you choose is also important. There are two main categories of breast reconstruction:
Implant reconstruction relies on breast implants to help form a new breast mound.
Autologous or “flap” reconstruction
This type of reconstruction uses your own tissue from another part of the body to form the breast. Flap procedures results in reconstructed breasts that look and feel more natural.
With many different techniques available for breast reconstruction, it can be hard to know to which one is best for you, your body, and your unique circumstances. The SSM Health team understands that post-mastectomy breast reconstruction can be an emotionally difficult and personal experience. Our doctors and staff strive to educate, guide, and support you through the entire reconstruction process.
Recovering from Breast Reconstruction Surgery
The recovery process will differ not only from person to person, but also depends on which type of reconstruction you choose. It is crucial to take care of yourself during this time and allow your body to heal.
Your physician will provide you with specific instructions for your recovery. We’re here to help you should you have any questions. Your post-surgery guidelines may include:
- How to care for the surgical site(s)
- Medications to apply or take orally
- Specific concerns to look out for
- When to follow up with your surgeon
This process can seem daunting emotional, but our compassionate physicians and staff are here to be with you every step of the way. Contact us today if you would like a second opinion or to set up a consultation.