Common Questions About Breast Cancer Reconstruction
When facing the loss of one or both breasts due to breast cancer, it is only natural for women to wonder how they will look after a mastectomy or lumpectomy and what their options are going forward. Fortunately, breast reconstruction surgery offers women the opportunity to restore their bustline and regain their confidence in a safe and effective way.
Board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Stephen F. Davidson of The Face & Body Center is one of the leading experts in breast reconstruction surgery, and has performed countless successful reconstructions for women in Jackson, MS. Dr. Davidson and the caring and compassionate team at The Face & Body Center fully understand the sensitive and personal nature of breast reconstruction following breast cancer treatment and are committed to providing an unmatched level of patient care and service. During your initial one-on-one consultation in one of our comfortable rooms, Dr. Davidson will evaluate your case thoroughly, discuss your personal concerns and goals with care and understanding, answer all of your questions fully, explain the procedures and options in great detail, and ultimately recommend a course of action that will best meet your needs.
When undergoing any surgical procedure, particularly one as impactful as breast reconstruction, it is always important to have a good understanding of the basics of the procedure as well as what to expect during and after the surgery. Some of the most common questions asked by women considering breast reconstruction surgery are:
What is breast reconstruction?
Whether a woman has lost a portion of a breast, one breast, or even both breasts due to breast cancer, trauma, or genetic abnormality, breast reconstruction can help restore or enhance her contour through one or more surgical techniques. Breast reconstruction can be accomplished through the use of fat and tissue grafting from another area of the patient’s own body or the use of silicone or saline implants.
How does the breast reconstruction procedure work?
While most people are familiar with a traditional breast augmentation, it is important to remember that the process of reconstructive breast surgery is much different. Breast reconstruction is performed in stages rather than one visit to the OR. During the first stage, a procedure is performed to place a tissue expander into the breast pocket. Over a period of several weeks or months, the expander is gradually filled with small amounts of saline until the skin is stretched enough to accommodate either the fat transfer or implant that will be placed.
The second surgery will include removal of the expander and the actual reconstruction, which can be done in a variety of ways. The latissimus flap and TRAM flap techniques both involve using muscle and tissue from the patient’s body to reshape or reconstruct the breast or chest area. If your surgeon recommends the use of implants, either a silicone or saline implant will be placed into the newly expanded breast pocket.
Oftentimes the final stage of reconstructive breast surgery is nipple reconstruction. Experienced and knowledgeable reconstructive surgeon Dr. Davidson generally recommends that women wait a significant amount of time before choosing to undergo nipple reconstruction to give them time to heal and recover from the previous procedures. Once a patient is comfortable and satisfied with the size, shape, and overall look of her breasts, nipple reconstruction can be undertaken.
What results can I expect?
Though the results from a breast reconstruction procedure can be dramatic and stunning, it is important that patients begin the process with realistic expectations. Particularly in the cases of patients who have lost all of their breast tissue due to breast cancer treatment, their reconstructed breasts may not look at all like their original breasts. Depending on your specific case, Dr. Davidson can help you better prepare yourself for what results you may be able to expect. In general, breast reconstruction surgery provides women long-lasting, satisfactory, and pleasing results that can be truly life-changing.
Am I a good candidate for the breast reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction surgery is generally reserved for women who have undergone a mastectomy and/or lumpectomy, who have lost breast tissue due to traumatic injury, or who suffer from abnormalities and deformations related to genetics. As with any surgical procedure, candidates should be in good health, be non-smokers, and not have any other contraindications to surgery or anesthesia. It is also recommended that patients considering breast reconstruction have reached and maintained a healthy and stable weight at least six months before the surgery.
Can I have the procedure during my course of chemotherapy?
The caring and compassionate team at The Face & Body Center understands the emotional process of breast cancer treatment and patients’ desire to begin the reconstruction process as soon as possible. In many cases, Dr. Davidson is able to work around a patient’s chemotherapy schedule to begin the process of breast reconstruction simultaneously.
How do I get started?
The first and most important step in your breast reconstruction journey is to select a highly experienced, qualified, and knowledgeable surgeon. Board-certified plastic surgeon and reconstruction expert Dr. Stephen F. Davidson uses his extensive experience, skillful hand, and artistic eye to produce beautiful, lasting, and transformative results for women time and time again.
To find out more about how breast reconstruction after breast cancer can boost your confidence, restore your bustline, and change your life, call our office to schedule your consultation today.