What is breast reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction surgery is an option that can help improve a breast cancer survivor’s confidence and sense of wholeness after undergoing a mastectomy. Multiple techniques for breast reconstruction exist including utilizing the body’s own tissue or using breast implants. Breast reconstruction can often be one of the final pieces to physical and psychological healing.
If only one breast is affected, it alone can be reconstructed. A breast lift, breast reduction or breast augmentation procedure may be recommended for the opposite breast to improve the symmetry, size and position of both breasts.
The size and type of breast implants used in a breast reconstruction surgery are recommended by a surgeon based on a patient’s desired results, body frame, size and current breast size. At RTH, we offer both saline breast implants and silicone breast implants.
Saline implants are filled with sterile salt water and may be pre-filled or filled at the time of surgery to allow for minor size modifications. Silicone implants are pre-filled with a soft, elastic gel and may require a longer incision for implant placement.
Breast reconstruction is most commonly performed to achieve the following results:
- Restore appearance after a mastectomy
- Improve quality of life and self confidence
- Improve the overall balance and proportion of the body
What to expect
- Step 1Consultation
- Step 2Preparation
- Step 3Surgery
- Step 4Recovery
- Step 5Results
Step 1 Consultation
A thorough consultation is an important first step when deciding if breast reconstruction is the right option for you. One of our board certified surgeons will discuss your desired results, examine you and provide an honest, professional opinion on how best to achieve those results. We also make certain that you are a good candidate for the procedure, taking into account your age, health, medical background and other factors that could affect the safety and effectiveness of your surgery. All of our consultations are conducted with the goal of making sure our patients feel comfortable, confident and informed about the breast reconstruction process.
Step 2 Preparation
Well before your procedure, let RTH know of any medications you take. Three weeks prior and three weeks after, we strongly suggest limiting your alcohol and tobacco intake. Two weeks prior and two weeks after, you should not take any medication that may thin your blood such as aspirin or ibuprofen products.
The evening before your surgery, refrain from eating or drinking anything including water, and do not smoke. If you develop a cold, sore throat, fever or any other symptoms of illness before your surgery, let RTH know right away.
The day of your procedure, refrain from wearing makeup, contact lenses, hairpins, jewelry, lotion or perfume. We also advise wearing comfortable clothing. Prepare to have a responsible adult provide you with transportation after your procedure and make arrangements for any care or assistance you may need 24 hours after surgery.
Step 3 Surgery
Before your procedure, your surgeon will answer any questions that may have come up since your consultation. You will also have the opportunity to meet the RTH staff assisting your surgeon during your procedure. Every effort is made to make certain that all of your concerns are addressed and you are as comfortable as possible.
When it is time to begin, you will be taken to our state-of-the-art surgical suite and comfortably fall asleep under general anesthesia. Breast reconstruction can take two to five hours depending on the complexity of the procedure and if it is performed in combination with other procedures to enhance results.
Step 4 Recovery
For several weeks after surgery, we strongly suggest avoiding strenuous activity. Sleeping on your back is also best. A post-procedural sports bra is usually worn for a few weeks. Most patients are back to work within two weeks, but it is important to remember that everyone recovers differently, and you may need more or less time before you feel 100% again. A few days after your surgery, your RTH doctor will follow-up to see how you are healing and prescribe any necessary medication
Step 5 Results
While results vary based on the individual, breast reconstruction restores your shape and symmetry and can greatly improve your outlook on life. Many patients experience an increase in self confidence and find new enjoyment in their day-to-day activities. During your consultation, your doctor will thoroughly explain what results to expect. We also offer micropigmentation treatments, which permanently create realistic looking nipples after surgery.
Q: Is breast reconstruction right for me?
If you want to restore your body’s natural curves and symmetry after a mastectomy, breast reconstruction may be the right option for you. All breast reconstruction candidates must be 18 years or older and in good health with no pre-existing medical conditions that could create complications.
Q: Why choose RTH Plastic Surgery for my breast reconstruction procedure?
When choosing a plastic surgeon to perform breast reconstruction, there are three important qualifications to consider: training, experience and personal attention. Your surgeon should have completed an accredited plastic surgery residency program, be board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and have extensive experience in performing breast reconstruction surgeries. Above all, your doctor should be someone you trust to deliver exceptional results and perform a safe and effective procedure.
Dr. Hajjar is a board certified plastic surgeon with years of experience performing breast reconstruction and breast enhancement procedures. In fact, cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgeries are the most commonly performed procedures at RTH. Our doctor spends the necessary time with every patient to answer any questions and address any concerns. We make it a priority to ensure our patients are well-informed and completely comfortable with their decisions. We know that your time is valuable, which is why we maintain an efficient procedure calendar and use the latest techniques and technology to minimize your recovery time and maximize your results.
Q: Will my insurance cover breast reconstruction?
Insurance companies commonly do cover breast reconstruction, but it is important to make certain if you plan to use insurance coverage as payment. We strongly suggest consulting with your provider to discuss if the treatment is covered in part or in full by your current plan.
Q: Will my breast reconstruction have a natural result?
RTH plastic surgeons have improved and refined minimally invasive techniques for breast reconstruction surgery. Our short-scar technique offers little or no scarring. While results vary based on the individual, we focus on creating the most natural results possible. We also offer micropigmentation treatments, which permanently create realistic looking nipples after surgery. During your consultation, your doctor will thoroughly explain what results to expect.
Q: How long will results last?
The longevity of results varies and is dependent on your body type and lifestyle. Typically, you can expect your breast reconstruction results to be long lasting. Overtime, you may need to have your implants adjusted or replaced as there is a possibility of leakage, migration or unevenness.
Q: What are the risks of breast reconstruction surgery?
As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of complication related to infection. Some people may wake up from surgery feeling groggy and experience an upset stomach, side effects of the anesthesia that are very temporary. We are happy to explain in detail any of the risks involved prior to your surgery. We carefully review your complete medical history and all medications you are on to prevent any complications.
Other risks associated with breast reconstruction may include:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Poor wound healing
- Breast asymmetry
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Firmness around the breast
- Skin contour irregularities
- Skin sensitivity
Q: Are breast reconstruction surgeries safe?
Yes, there is no evidence to suggest that breast reconstruction and breast implants increase the risk of breast cancer or any other condition. At RTH, we only use FDA approved breast implants.
Q: Can I have additional procedures in combination with my breast reconstruction to enhance results?
Yes, your RTH doctor can recommend additional services to enhance your desired results such as breast reduction, breast augmentation or a breast lift.