Are you considering breast reconstruction after breast cancer?
Losing a breast as a result of a mastectomy can be devastating. You may feel anxious and depressed; the loss can affect all parts of your life, even your job performance. Breast reconstruction can help remove that anxiety, while restoring your self-confidence and poise, in addition to your appearance.
Whether you’re visiting our web site months or years after your mastectomy, welcome. Here you’ll find answers to some of your breast reconstruction questions, and we invite you to contact us to schedule a consultation to learn more.
What is breast reconstruction?
There are two types of breast reconstruction:
- Implant-based reconstruction: This two-step process is for patients who have not had radiation therapy. The first step is the insertion of a tissue expander, which you’ll keep for several months before it’s replaced with a silicone or saline-filled implant.
- Flap reconstruction: Your breast is reconstructed with skin, muscle and fat from another part of your body, like your back or belly.
A number of factors determine which breast reconstruction option is best for you, including:
- Your lifestyle
- The cancer treatments you had
- Your body type.
Your Annapolis Breast Reconstruction Consultation
During your consultation, you’ll speak with Dr. Spittler, our board-certified, fellowship-trained plastic surgeon. Dr. Spittler has completed over 3000 breast reconstruction procedures and understands the intricacies involved in these sensitive surgeries. When you meet, he’ll answer all your questions, while you discuss:
- Your goals: why do you want the surgery and what outcome are you hoping for?
- Your medical history. He’ll cover things like:
- Are you taking any prescription or nonprescription drugs and/or herbal supplements?
- Do you smoke?
- Have you had any previous surgeries in addition to the mastectomy?
- Your options. Not everyone is a candidate for both types of surgery. You’ll also discuss any risks and possible complications.
Be sure to bring your questions. You’ll have time to ask whatever you need, to help you decide if breast reconstruction is right for you. We recommend writing down your questions as you think of them, so you won’t forget to ask.
When you leave your consultation, you’ll have a plan for your breast reconstruction, understand what’s involved and know what to expect at all stages of the process.
Understanding the Breast Reconstruction Procedure
Our team supports you completely before, during and after your breast reconstruction. Here are a few things to know about the procedure itself.
- If you smoke, you must stop at least two weeks before the surgery.
- You may need to stop taking some medicines.
- Shortly before the procedure, you’ll have some lab tests to evaluate your current
- Breast reconstruction procedures are typically done in a hospital. Sometimes the procedure requires an overnight stay.
- The procedure is done under general anesthesia.
- You’ll return to our office several times after your surgery, the first being within several days of your procedure, to ensure you’re healing properly.
- Depending on the procedure you choose, you may need to return to our clinic for re-construction of your nipple and areola.
Breast Reconstruction Recovery and Results
You won’t be able to drive home after your procedure, so you’ll need to arrange for someone to drive you. Your time at home should be quiet and relaxing. Your surgeon may prescribe pain medication and some topical creams. You’ll want to use them as prescribed to alleviate any discomfort and help with healing.
Your reconstructed breast will never look identical to the breast it replaced, or to your original breast, in feel or shape. We’ll make every effort to minimize scarring and maximize the aesthetic results. Some women choose to have cosmetic surgery done on their other breast—such as a breast augmentation or a breast lift—to improve symmetry with the reconstructed breast.
What are the risks of breast reconstruction?
The risks are low and include the same risks you find with many types of surgery, including infection, bleeding, incisions that are slow to heal and problems with anesthesia.
Do you think you’re a candidate for breast reconstruction? The only way to know for sure is to speak to a board-certified plastic surgeon. Contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Spittler, to answer all your questions and make an informed decision.