Breast reconstruction is surgery to rebuild the shape of your breast
after you have had part or all of your breast removed because of cancer. It may
also be done for women who have problems with breast development. Your doctor
may create a breast form with an implant that is put under the skin and often
under the chest muscle in your breast area. You and your doctor will plan your
surgery based on your wishes, your overall health, and how much surgery and
treatment were done for the cancer. Every woman's treatment plan and breast
surgery are different.
Breast reconstruction usually takes more
than one surgery. The nipple and the brown area around it, called the areola,
are usually recreated at a later time. Your doctor may also use a balloon
(tissue expander) to stretch your skin and muscle for several months before the
final implant is put in. The balloon is gradually expanded with a saltwater
solution every 1 to 2 weeks until the tissue is ready. This happens in your
You will likely be asleep during your surgery,
and you may be given a medicine that numbs the breast area. After your surgery,
you will probably be able to go home the same day or the next day. Depending on
the type of work you do, you should be able to go back to work or your normal
routine in 3 to 6 weeks. The cuts (incisions) leave scars that will fade with
time. Your doctor may try to use the same incisions that were used to remove
your cancer. Your doctor will try to make incisions that leave as few visible
scars as possible.
It is important to know that your breasts will
look different after surgery. Your new breast may feel firmer and look rounder
or flatter than your other breast. The new breast may not have the same shape
as your breast did before it was removed. Some women have surgery on the other
breast to make them look as much 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 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.
Having surgery can be
stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect and
how to safely prepare for surgery.
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter V966 in the search box to learn more about "Breast Reconstruction With Expander or Implant: Before Your Surgery."
Current as of:
July 26, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Laura S. Dominici, MD - General Surgery,
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