Breast reconstruction is a type of surgery. It rebuilds your breast after you've had part or all of a breast removed. It is often done for women who have cancer. But women who have problems with breast development may also have this surgery. It usually takes more than one surgery to rebuild a breast. You and your doctor will plan your surgery or surgeries based on your wishes and your health.
To do the surgery, the doctor will use skin, fat, and muscle to rebuild your breast. This may come from your back, your belly, or your bottom (buttocks). The nipple and the brown area around it (areola) are most often created later.
You will be asleep during the surgery. The doctor will do his or her best to make cuts in places on your body that won't be seen. These cuts are called incisions. Sometimes the doctor uses the same incisions that were used to remove the cancer. The incisions leave scars that fade with time.
After surgery, you will probably go home in 3 to 5 days. Many women can go back to work or their normal routine in 6 to 9 weeks. It depends on the type of work you do.
It's important to know that your breasts will look different after surgery. Your new breast may be more firm, round, or flat than your other breast. It may also not look the same as the breast that was removed. Some women have surgery on the other breast to make them look as alike as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Laura S. Dominici, MD - Surgery, General Surgery, Oncology
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