If you have undergone a lumpectomy, partial mastectomy, or a full mastectomy, or if you are planning to undergo one of these procedures, breast reconstruction surgery is an available option to consider.
What is breast reconstruction?
Dr. O’Brien may use one or several techniques to reconstruct a breast. Basically, these techniques fall into two basic categories:
- Implant-based reconstruction: Using a gel implant with or without a tissue expander.
- Autologous reconstruction: Using your own tissue to create a flap or a graft.
A combination of both techniques is sometimes required.
Usually two or three operations are required to complete breast reconstruction, and surgery is often performed on the other breast to improve shape and symmetry. Many women are able to begin the process of reconstruction at the time of mastectomy, also known as immediate reconstruction. For various reasons, reconstruction at the time of mastectomy may not be safe, and Dr. O’Brien will recommend delayed breast reconstruction.
Am I a good candidate for breast reconstruction?
Early in the process, Dr. O’Brien will create an individualized plan for your reconstructive surgery. He will pay close attention to your treatment plan and personal goals for reconstruction. Many times, Dr. O’Brien will reconstruct your breast as a part of your mastectomy. If immediate reconstruction is not possible, he will devise a strategy for breast reconstruction at an appropriate time.
How long is recovery from breast reconstruction?
You may need to stay in the hospital four to seven days as you begin healing from breast reconstructive surgery. If you have surgical drains, you will learn how to empty those and keep records of the fluid volume. Report pain if you have any, so that it can be treated. Don’t go right back to work; plan on taking it easy for three to six weeks for recovery. Be sure to have someone around to help drive you and do any lifting. Also, be sure to go for your follow-up appointments, so Dr. O’Brien can keep an eye on your incisions and dressings, and remove your drains.