When you have to undergo Breast Cancer Surgery, your doctors also advise you a breast reconstruction surgery to rebuild your breasts.
They can perform breast reconstruction surgery simultaneously as your mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) or at a later date (delayed reconstruction). This decision is often based on several factors, including your overall health and well-being, the type of mastectomy you have, and your personal preferences.
There are many types of breast reconstruction surgeries. The right option for you will depend on your body type, the extent of your cancer surgery, and your personal preferences. Your plastic surgeon will work with you to help you choose the best option for your individual needs.
The most preferred type of breast reconstruction surgery is breast implants. Breast implants can be placed under the chest muscle (submuscular) or over the chest (sub-glandular). Your plastic surgeon will help you decide which placement is best for you based on your body structure, age, and goals.
Everything You Need To Know Breast Cancer Reconstruction
Other Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgeries Include:
Autologous flap surgery: This type of reconstruction uses tissue from another area of your body, such as your back, abdomen, or buttock, to reconstruct the shape of breast. The most common types of autologous flap surgery are:
Latissimus dorsi myocutaneous (LDM) flap surgery: Here, a section of skin, fat, and muscle is taken from the back and moved to the front to reconstruct the breast. This is done along with an implant or without one.
Pedicled tram flap surgery: A section of skin, fat, and sometimes muscle is taken from the belly or thigh area and moved to the chest to reconstruct the breast. This may be done with an implant or without one.
Allogeneic (donor) tissue: In this type of reconstruction, healthy tissue is taken from a donor (usually a family member) and used to create a new breast. Allogeneic reconstruction is not as common as autologous flap (flap taken from the patient’s body) surgery.
Why Undergo Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
Women choose to undergo Breast Reconstruction Surgery because of various reasons. Some women feel that reconstructing their breasts will help them regain their sense of femininity and self-confidence after cancer surgery.
Others believe that reconstruction surgery will help them feel “whole” again. Still, others may want to avoid using a prosthesis (false breast). Before undergoing breast reconstruction surgery, it is essential to discuss your motivations and expectations with your plastic surgeon.
Then, they will be able to tell you if breast reconstruction is right for you and help you choose the best type of reconstruction for your individual needs.
Risks associated with breast reconstruction surgery
Breast reconstruction surgery is generally safe, but it comes with certain risks like any other surgery. The most common risks include:
- Infection: Infection can occur at the surgical site or in the breast implant. Symptoms of an infection may include redness, swelling, warmth, and pain. If you develop an infection, it will probably require treatment with antibiotics.
- Bleeding: Bleeding is a common complication of surgery. Although bleeding is controlled during surgery most of the time, some bleeding may occur after surgery. If you have heavy bleeding, you may need a transfusion.
- Scarring: All surgeries result in some scarring. The amount of scarring depends on the type of surgery performed and your healing process.
- Numbness: Numbness is a common side effect of surgery. The amount of numbness depends on the type of surgery performed. Most numbness improves within a few months to a year.
- Asymmetry: Asymmetry is a common concern after breast reconstruction surgery. One breast may appear larger or smaller than the other or have different shapes. In some cases, additional surgery may be required to correct the asymmetry.
- Changes in sensation: Changes in sensation are common after breast reconstruction surgery. There may be a loss of sensation based on the type of surgery performed and the nerves spared during surgery.
- Delayed healing: Delayed healing is a common complication of surgery. Your incisions may take longer than expected to heal. You may also have skin necrosis, which is when the skin around your incisions may turn blue, and the cells of that area may die.
- Fluid accumulation: Fluid accumulation, also called seroma, can occur after surgery. Common symptoms of a seroma include swelling and pain. If you develop this condition, it will likely require treatment that helps drain the excess fluid.
- Implant rupture: Breast implants are not designed to last a lifetime. They may break or leak over time. If your implant ruptures, you will probably need surgery to remove and replace the implant.
- Capsular contracture: Capsular contracture is a common complication of breast reconstruction surgery. It occurs when the scar tissue around the implant tightens and squeezes the implant causing pain, changes in the breast’s shape, and hardening of the breast.
If you develop capsular contracture, you may need surgery to release the scar tissue.
What to Expect After Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
After your surgery, you are closely monitored in the recovery room for a couple of hours. Once you are awake and alert, you will be discharged. Make sure you have someone drive you home and stay with you for the first few days after your surgery.
During the first week after your surgery, it is important to rest as much as possible. In the initial few days, you may have some pain and discomfort, which can be controlled with medication. In addition, your incisions will be covered with dressings that will need to be changed regularly.
You may also have drains at the incision site to help remove any excess fluid accumulation at the surgical site. These drains are usually removed within one to two weeks.
It is important to keep your incisions clean and dry. You will need to avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for at least six weeks. Your plastic surgeon will let you know when it is safe to return to your normal activities.
Most women are delighted with the results of their breast reconstruction surgery. The new breasts look and feel natural, and they don’t interfere with future mammograms. In addition, reconstruction surgery can help restore your self-image and confidence after a mastectomy.
If you have any questions or concerns about breast reconstruction surgery, make sure you have it all discussed with your plastic surgeon. They shall clear all your queries and help you decide whether reconstruction surgery is right for you.
Questions to ask about Breast Reconstruction
It’s important to feel comfortable asking your surgeon questions about breast reconstruction.You may want to ask about:
- What are my breast reconstruction options?
- What are the pros and cons of each option?
- How will breast reconstruction affect my overall treatment plan?
- What are the risks and complications associated with each option?
- What is the expected recovery time for each option?
- How will breast reconstruction affect my body image and self-esteem?
- Can I see before-and-after photos of previous patients?
- Will I need to have additional surgery in the future?
- How much will breast reconstruction cost?
- Do you have experience performing the type of reconstruction I’m interested in?
Your surgeon should be able to answer all of your questions and address any concerns you have. If you don’t feel comfortable with your surgeon, it’s OK to get a second opinion.
Besides asking your surgeon questions, you may also want to ask your family and friends for their support and advice.
If possible, it can be helpful to speak with someone who has gone through breast cancer treatment and reconstruction. You can also join a breast cancer support group to connect with other women facing similar challenges.
You can book an appointment with our experts to know more about breast reconstruction surgeries.
About Dr. Jay Rashmi Anam
Dr Jay Anam is one of the best surgical oncologists in India. Dr. Jay is Breast Cancer Specialist in Mumbai, and he believes in world class cancer care for all the patients.
Dr. Jay Anam focuses on Breast Oncology, and his scope of work includes:
- Breast Cancer surgeries, including Mastectomy, Breast Conservation Surgery, Aesthetic and Cosmetic Breast reconstruction–Oncoplasty to retain breast shape and size during the treatment of breast cancer.
- Sentinel Node Biopsy to limit the extent of the node dissection in early breast cancers.
- Sono-Guided and Wire- localized Breast Surgeries for screen-detected Breast Cancers.
- Flap reconstructions for advanced Breast Cancers.
- Aesthetic Breast Surgery for benign breast tumours.
Patient Treated By Dr. Jay Anam
People heavily rely on reviews from other patients when choosing a healthcare provider
Dr. Jay Anam is a warm, kind, sympathetic, and brilliant doctor who handles his patients with dignity and respect, in my opinion. He has an incredible talent for motivating his patients and inspiring them to give more than 100% confidence. "Ruma, enjoy this voyage and you will be OK!" he said, and I still remember his words. These words have struck a chord in my heart throughout my wellness voyage, and I am a warrior. Dr. Jay Anam comes across as a terrific friend, and he makes you feel at ease throughout the procedure as if you've known him for years. He is forthcoming and available 24/7 for any queries.
I got operated in Nov 2021. The word cancer can be so daunting and brings loads of stress in a patient's life. But i was fortunate that I met the right surgeon - Dr Jay Anam, post meeting him was relaxed and knew I am in safe hands. He explained the surgery in minute detail and patiently answered all my queries. Post surgery outcome was also discussed and nothing was left to guessing. He was on time for the surgery and i have to admit that the cuts and scars are minimal and it was a very clean n neatly done job. Post surgery he was always available on phone for any issue I faced. Post surgery follow up visit was also handled professionally.
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