Breast reconstruction is performed after the procedures such as mastectomy or lumpectomy, or to eliminate congenital deformations. This process is performed to one or both breasts, depending on the condition. Breast reconstruction usually involves multiple procedures, and can be performed during mastectomy or later.
What is Breast Reconstruction? How Is It Performed?
Breast reconstruction involves procedures performed for individuals, who have lost one or both breasts due to a disease such as cancer. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Breast reconstruction is performed in two ways, including implants and flap. In order to give the breast a new shape, fat tissue taken from another part of the body can also be used in addition to the implants. The process can be performed to a single breast or both breasts. In procedures performed with the fat tissues taken from the body of the individual, this fat can be removed from the lower abdomen, hip or waist area. In some cases, implants can be placed temporarily before shaping with adipose tissue. Here, the important point is to make choices according to the needs of the patient. In women, who have undergone mastectomy, the characteristics of the tumor should be taken into consideration during the procedure, as well as the shape of the breast. Individuals with nipple and areola region can be repositioned during the procedure. In this way, both breasts appear more symmetrical when viewed from the outside. In addition to this procedure, breast lift, reduction or augmentation procedures can be performed on the other breast in order to ensure symmetry.
Who Can Have Breast Reconstruction?
In many women, breast tissue is preserved by lumpectomy or conservative mastectomy. Nonetheless, deformation occurs in cases such as the removal of a large tumor. In these cases, breast reconstruction is required. This is very difficult for individuals, who have undergone mastectomy, and have experienced tissue loss. The process can lead to psychological disturbances along with a lack of self-confidence. To prevent this, breast reconstruction surgery must be performed. This enables women to look in the mirror more confidently.
Planning Process Before Breast Reconstruction
The planning process of the breast reconstruction surgery varies according to the time of the procedure. In some patients, the breast reconstruction procedure is started along with mastectomy. In some patients, this procedure is performed later. Planning is performed considering the ongoing treatments of the patients, if any. Patients should avoid smoking and alcohol consumption approximately two weeks before the procedure. After this procedure, which is performed with general anesthesia, patients may need to stay in the hospital for one day. Patients are advised to take this into consideration, and should be accompanied by a companion during the procedure.
Recovery Process After Breast Reconstruction
After the procedure, elastic bandages or support bras are used to minimize swelling and support the area of surgery. In some cases, small drains can be placed in the incision areas in order to discharge the accumulated fluid and blood. These drains are removed a few days after the procedure. Generally, dissolvable stitches are used in these procedures. Nonetheless, in some cases, normal stitches can also be used. In such cases, the physician removes the stitches a while after the procedure. In breast reconstruction, there is a quite smooth recovery process. Approximately one week after the procedure, patients can gradually return to their normal lives. Nonetheless, patients have to wait for a while for an active life and sports. The swelling and redness that occur after the procedure disappears spontaneously within a week. The desired result is achieved after approximately 1 month following the procedure.