Battling breast cancer is one of the toughest fights of a woman’s life. It may be necessary to undergo a mastectomy, removing one or both of her breasts. Breast reconstruction surgery is performed to recreate natural-looking, plump, round breasts after a mastectomy.
Am I a candidate for breast reconstruction after mastectomy?
If you have struggled with breast cancer and lost one or both breasts, you are a candidate for breast reconstruction surgery. In most cases, you should have completed chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and be back in good health to undergo a breast reconstruction procedure.
How are breasts reconstructed after a mastectomy?
Breasts reconstruction can be performed with several techniques, as every situation is unique. The procedure will be based upon how the breast was removed, and if it was a nipple-sparing mastectomy. It is essential to speak with our board-certified plastic surgeon before your mastectomy, as in some cases, the breasts can be restored in the same surgery. Your breast reconstruction may include:
- Silicone or saline breast implants
- Tissue expanders
- Autologous/flap reconstruction using your tissue and muscle
- Nipple reconstruction (if necessary)
- A combination of both surgical techniques
What is the recovery from breast reconstruction after mastectomy?
Recovery time varies, depending upon how your breast reconstruction surgery was performed. With breast reconstruction with implants, you will need a few weeks off and must avoid strenuous activity for six weeks. If a flap procedure was performed, longer recovery time is needed, as the area from which tissue was harvested must also heal. The advantage of undergoing a flap procedure is that your reconstructed breasts are created with your tissue, feeling soft and natural.
Some types of breast reconstruction surgical procedures will also require you to have surgical drains in place to drain excess fluid from the surgical sites, removed within a few days. You will also need to wear a compression bra as instructed. Dr. Wiener will provide you with written post-surgical recovery instructions. You will have prescription pain medication to keep you comfortable in the early stages of healing.
Immediate or delayed breast reconstruction
In many cases, a breast removed in a mastectomy can be reconstructed directly after the mastectomy, in the same surgery, called “immediate breast reconstruction.” In other cases, a staged approach is needed, called “delayed breast reconstruction.” The factors that impact how your reconstruction will be performed include:
- The stage of breast cancer
- Your current health and medical condition
- The need for ongoing treatment for breast cancer (radiation, chemo)
- The need for tissue expansion before breast reconstruction
Will I have visible scars after my procedure?
Dr. Wiener is highly skilled at delicate suturing to minimize scars. Every patient heals slightly differently. While most scars fade to be almost unnoticeable, any incision leaves a scar. Caring for the incisions correctly after your breast reconstruction surgery will make a difference in the final appearance. Dr. Wiener and his professional team will guide you through this process.
Does insurance cover breast reconstruction after mastectomy?
In the state of Texas, insurance carriers (including Medicaid) are required to cover breast reconstruction after mastectomy procedures. Medicare, federal insurance for those over 65 also includes breast reconstruction after mastectomy procedures. The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 also requires all insurance companies, group health plans, and HMOs that cover mastectomy to cover breast reconstruction. If you are scheduled for a mastectomy, get help planning your breast reconstruction prior to surgery. A nipple-sparing mastectomy, when possible, aids in restoring a very natural look to the reconstructed breast.
Why choose Dr. Thomas Wiener for breast reconstruction?
Dr. Wiener is known as being among the top plastic surgeons in the Houston area, and as a specialist in breast augmentation and reconstruction procedures. He is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has helped hundreds of women regain their confidence through breast augmentation, lift, and reconstruction. If you have struggled with a loss of part or all of one or both of your breast due to a mastectomy, you can restore your breasts, so they appear natural and beautiful, with nipples restored if needed.
Dr. Thomas Wiener, MD, FACS is a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in Breast Augmentation, Breast Revision, Liposuction,
and Mommy Makeover.Dr. Wiener has serves Houston, Clear Lake, and Pearland, Texas.
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