After a mastectomy or lumpectomy, many patients choose breast reconstruction to restore the appearance of the breasts. The specifics of breast reconstruction vary depending on the remaining breast tissue, aesthetic goals, and medical needs of each patient.
There are two basic types of breast reconstruction: the autologous or “flap” technique, which uses the patient’s own tissue, and the implant technique, which uses a breast implant to create the desired shape.
Autologous Breast Reconstruction
During an autologous, or “flap,” breast reconstruction, Dr. Rosenberg will use existing muscle, fat, and other tissue from other areas of the patient’s body to reconstruct the breast. This tissue may be sourced from the stomach, shoulder, or buttocks. Candidacy for this method depends on the patient’s medical history and whether the donor sites have sufficient tissue.
Breast Implant Reconstruction
Implants are another option for patients who do not require radiation and would prefer not to source tissue from a donor site. About 70 percent of all breast reconstructions utilize breast implants, and these can occur in either one or two stages.
One-stage breast implant reconstruction is performed after a mastectomy but before the tissue has shrunk. The implant is placed directly into the breast using methods similar to a standard breast augmentation.
Two-stage reconstruction involves gradually stretching the skin and muscle in order to create a pocket to insert the implant into. This can be achieved by placing an expander that is gradually filled with saline.
Patients should understand that while breast reconstruction restores the appearance of the breast, sensation and feeling in the area is usually not the same as before treatment, and visible scarring is likely.
Most patients who have undergone a mastectomy or lumpectomy are candidates for breast reconstruction. It is important that in addition to having a positive outlook and realistic goals for the surgery, you do not have additional medical conditions or illnesses that can impair healing from the procedure.
The details of recovery from breast reconstruction vary depending on the extent of the surgery and methods used. Typically, patients can expect to wear compression garments to ease swelling and to be prescribed medication to manage pain. Dr. Rosenberg will provide detailed instructions for your unique recovery process.
To learn more about breast reconstruction, including whether you are a candidate, schedule a consultation with Dr. Rosenberg. Call the Plastic Surgery Center of Maryland at (410) 324-3071 or request your appointment online.