Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy

What is breast reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction is achieved through several plastic surgery techniques that attempt to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance and size following mastectomy.

Although breast reconstruction can rebuild your breast, the results are highly variable:

  • A reconstructed breast will not have the same sensation and feel as the breast it replaces.
  • Visible incision lines will always be present on the breast, whether from reconstruction or mastectomy.
  • Certain surgical techniques will leave incision lines at the donor site, commonly located in less exposed areas of the body such as the back, abdomen or buttocks.

Is a Breast Reconstruction the right option for me?

Breast reconstruction is a good option for you if:

  • You are able to cope well with your diagnosis and treatment
  • You do not have additional medical conditions or other illnesses that may impair healing
  • You have a positive outlook and realistic goals for restoring your breast and body image

Breast reconstruction typically involves several procedures performed in multiple stages. It can:

  • Begin at the same time as mastectomy, or
  • Be delayed until you heal from mastectomy and recover from any additional cancer treatments

It’s important that you feel ready for the emotional adjustment involved in breast reconstruction. It may take some time to accept the results of breast reconstruction.

What is the most likely technique that the surgeon might use?

Flap techniques reposition a woman’s own muscle, fat and skin to create or cover the breast mound.

Sometimes a mastectomy or radiation therapy will leave insufficient tissue on the chest wall to cover and support a breast implant. The use of a breast implant for reconstruction almost always requires either a flap technique or tissue expansion.

A TRAM flap uses donor muscle, fat and skin from a woman’s abdomen to reconstruct the breast. The flap may either remain attached to the original blood supply and be tunneled up through the chest wall, or be completely detached, and formed into a breast mound.

Why have breast reconstruction?

Women choose breast reconstruction for many reasons:

  • To make their breasts look balanced when they are wearing a bra
  • To permanently regain their breast shape
  • So they don’t have to use a form that fits inside the bra (an external prosthesis)

You will be able to see the difference between the reconstructed breast and the remaining breast when you are nude. But when you are wearing a bra, the breasts should be alike enough in size and shape that you will feel comfortable about how you look in most types of clothes. Your body image and self-esteem may improve after your reconstruction surgery.

Call the office of Dr. Walter D. Gracia M.D., P.A. at (817) 336-9450 to schedule your first consult to see if Breast Reconstruction is right for you…

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