Breast reconstruction, an integral part of breast cancer treatment, is frequently performed by plastic and reconstructive surgeons. In Guilford, Connecticut, Dr. Beth Collins offers several advanced breast reconstruction techniques for her patients. She considers breast surgery, both reconstructive and cosmetic, to be a primary focus in her plastic surgery practice.
If you are considering breast reconstruction, you can turn to Dr. Beth Collins for advice and treatment in this emotional but rewarding reconstructive procedure. The surgery uses breast implants or natural tissue to restore the breasts after cancer and mastectomy.
Who Can Get Breast Reconstruction?
All breast reconstruction procedures are performed to restore one or both breasts after mastectomy or lumpectomy. While mastectomy and lumpectomy can help eliminate breast cancer, they can also cause significant asymmetry and the loss of feminine shape. Patients considering breast reconstruction are mentally and emotionally ready for a demanding surgical procedure. Many plastic surgeons recommend breast reconstruction immediately after mastectomy. But in some cases, the reconstruction is delayed until the patient feels fully prepared.
What Does Breast Reconstruction Do?
The goal of breast reconstruction is to restore a natural, feminine appearance. This can be achieved using several different methods. The most useful distinction between the available procedures is the use of breast implants or natural body tissue flaps. When breast implants are used (filled with either saline or elastic silicone gel), the doctor will often use a tissue expander (or an expanding implant) to first create space for each device. The implant can be placed above or below the pectoral muscle, depending on the patient’s needs and her body type.
Autologous breast reconstruction is more technically advanced, but preferred for patients who want natural tissue to restore the lost breast. These methods include techniques such as:
The techniques vary in the source of the grafted tissue, and the source of the blood supply which allows the graft to survive in a new location. Several techniques transfer skin, fat and muscle from the abdomen, while others obtain the needed tissue from the back or buttocks.
After Breast Reconstruction: What to Expect
In general, breast reconstruction patients can expect to be tired and sore for one to two weeks after surgery. Pain during recovery is managed with a prescription medication. Stitches may need to be removed after about one week. In some cases, the breast reconstruction process consists of several procedures or stages, which gradually restore a normal appearance. Later stages of the operation may include reconstruction of the nipple, adjustment of the breast size, or operations to enhance breast symmetry. Adjusting to the results will take time, so patients should be prepared for both the mental and physical challenges involved.
Choosing a plastic surgeon is one of the most important decisions to make in breast reconstruction. If you are located near Guilford Connecticut or New Haven County, we encourage you to schedule a consultationwith Dr. Beth Collins. Dr. Collins is trained in many of the most advanced breast reconstruction techniques, so she is fully prepared to discuss this important procedure with you.