The decision to have breast reconstruction is extremely personal. Often times, the procedure is being considered as a result of life-changing circumstances. We are here to help you through the process and put your mind at ease. If you have any questions, we are happy to take the time to answer them, as well as go over procedures and expectations to calm any concerns. Your overall health and medical history will be taken into consideration, and we will also explain your options and advise you of complications and risks. Our goal is to give you as much information as we can so that you can feel comfortable and confident.
Most often, breast reconstruction is done for women who have had to undergo a mastectomy. However, it is performed for other reasons as well, such as congenital abnormalities, deformities, and damage as the result of injury or accident.
Rebuilding Body Image
There are two main types of procedures involved: implant-based and autologous tissue-based. With the implant technique, saline or silicone gel implants are used to recreate the breast. The autologous tissue method involves using donor fat and tissue taken from other parts of your body, like your abdomen or back. Either way, the goal is to rebuild your breast with the most natural appearance to give you a renewed sense of self-esteem and positive body image.
Sometimes only one breast is affected, but that’s okay. We will reconstruct it to be similar in size and position to the opposite breast. We can even perform a lift, reduction, or augmentation to improve symmetry even more.
The procedure is done under general anesthesia, so you should arrange for someone to drive you home on the day of the surgery and possibly stay with you for at least the first night. Your dressings will be covered with an elastic bandage to minimize swelling and you will be given instructions for medication and care. Strictly adhering to these directions is essential for the success of your surgery. Recovery can take several weeks, however it may be more depending on the nature and extent of your surgery. For long-term health, it is important to perform self-breast exams as well as schedule regular mammograms.
A reconstructed breast will not have the same feel or sensation as your natural breast did, and will likely have visible scars from the mastectomy. However, in your clothing, your breasts will appear completely normal in size and shape. In addition, some sensation may return over time, and scars will fade, although not completely disappear.
An Emotional Journey
Breast reconstruction can take place at the same time as a mastectomy or you can wait until you are healed and have recovered from other cancer treatments—it’s up to you. We want you to feel ready, both physically and emotionally, for the process. Even after the procedure, it may take some time to adjust. For women who have lost a breast to cancer or some other condition, reconstructive surgery can be an emotional journey. We will be here for you every step of the way and beyond.
For more information on restoring your breasts to their natural size, shape, appearance, and beauty, make an appointment online, call Dr. Lisa J. Learn at (954) 380-8411, or visit us in Fort Lauderdale, FL.