If you have previously undergone a mastectomy or lumpectomy, you may be faced with the decision to rebuild your breasts. Breast reconstruction at Beautiful Breasts is a surgical procedure that helps you regain the natural, feminine look of breast tissue after the removal of one or both breasts. A cancer diagnosis or a high-risk of breast cancer can lead to a mastectomy to improve your health and increase your chances of survival, but the results can leave you feeling as if a vital part of you is missing.
Your breasts serve a number of purposes throughout your life. They make can enhance your femininity and can promote your self-image. They also have simpler benefits like improving the way your clothing fits. Often they are a significant part of your sexuality. Whatever your life experiences are as a woman, your breasts play an important role, and if you are feeling uncertain about your body now that you have had a mastectomy or lumpectomy, then breast reconstruction can help you regain such an important part of your well-being. Dr. Burr von Maur at Beautiful Breasts of Orange County will work with you to create a breast shape that suits your natural proportions and personal aesthetic so you can enjoy your femininity.
The Specifics of Your Consultation
Before your mastectomy, your surgeon may have asked you about your plans to reconstruct your breasts. Although you might not have had an answer at the time, it should have given you something to consider for when your initial surgery was completed. Breast reconstruction is a highly personal decision that should be given a lot of time and thought. You can decide to receive breast reconstruction immediately after mastectomy or lumpectomy, or you can wait until you have carefully considered all of your options. It’s your body after all, and you are the only one who can make important decisions about your physique. When you’ve decided that breast reconstruction is best for your personal aesthetic, then a consultation is your next step to creating your new breasts guided by our skilled plastic surgeons at Beautiful Breasts.
The plan for your consultation is to discuss the ideal image that you have for your new breasts, which could include anything from their shape, size or whether you want one or both breasts reconstructed. Although one breast may still be intact, our surgeons will at times recommend that both breasts be augmented to make them as symmetrical as possible. We also need to know more about your medical history, specifically when it has to do with whether you are healthy enough to receive surgery — It’s best if your cancer has been removed previously with mastectomy. We will discuss any and all medications you are taking as well as the previous surgeries that you have had performed.
An examination will also take place that looks at the current size and shape of your breasts as well as your skin quality to determine the right type of implant. We will also locate nipple and areola placement so that your new breasts look completely natural.
The Right Implant for You
Breast reconstruction comes with some options; they can be performed with either implants or tissue flaps and will depend on your personal cosmetic goals, your timeline, and your surgeon’s recommendation. Many of our patients choose saline or silicone-filled breast implants that are placed underneath the remaining breast tissue. We start the procedure by surgically placing a tissue expander underneath the skin, which we fill with salt water in a series of appointments to stretch the breast tissue to the desired capacity. Once filled, a second surgery is scheduled to replace the tissue expander with an implant. Patients can also opt for a tissue flap procedure, which uses your body’s own tissues to create a new breast. Tissue from your abdomen, buttocks or back is transplanted to your chest, and the blood vessels are reconnected to create a natural-looking breast.
Expectations and Recovery
Once your reconstruction procedure is complete, bandages will be placed over the incisions made. Your surgeon will also place a drain into the breast to help remove the fluid that builds up within the breast as it heals. You will experience some swelling for the first two weeks after surgery, and you may be prescribed pain medication to help you feel as comfortable as possible during your recovery. As you heal, you should keep all strenuous activity and heavy lifting as minimal as possible, but after about six to eight weeks, you can begin to resume your regular daily routine. It may be helpful to ask a friend or family member to assist you after surgery. Simple tasks like getting dressed, eating and bathing can become more involved during the healing process, and it may be beneficial for you to enlist the help of a loved one to put you at ease.
It’s important to emphasize that breast reconstruction is mainly performed for cosmetic benefit as a way to improve a woman’s self-esteem and reassure her femininity. Often, your new breasts will not carry the same sensations as your natural breasts once did. It may also take up to two years for your breasts to heal fully. However, a more symmetrical and natural-looking chest can work wonders for your physical appearance and self-image, especially after undergoing a surgery like a mastectomy. If you would like more information about our breast reconstruction and whether implants or tissue flaps are right for you, contact the surgeons at Beautiful Breasts of Orange County and schedule a consultation. We have experience with multiple breast reconstruction techniques and can help you determine which method is best for your body and cosmetic desires. Contact our office to learn more.