It can be difficult to lose one or both breasts because of breast cancer or a traumatic injury to the chest area. For women in Boca Raton, FL, and the surrounding area, Daniel Man, M.D., a Florida board-certified plastic surgeon, performs breast reconstruction to create breasts that are natural looking in terms of size, shape, and appearance.
What is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is performed to construct one or both breasts to their natural shape and size after a mastectomy, traumatic chest injury or even a congenital deformity. There are several techniques used for breast reconstruction whether to restore their original size and shape or to enlarge them.
The surgical techniques most frequently performed include:
- Implant Reconstruction
- DIEP Flap Reconstruction
- TRAM Flap Reconstruction
- Latissimus Dorsi Flap Reconstruction
Depending on the technique, it may take two to three procedures to achieve the desired look. When multiple procedures are required, there are usually several months between each one to ensure proper healing. For mastectomy patients, breast reconstruction may be performed during the same operation as the mastectomy.
Is Breast Reconstruction Right for Me?
Breast reconstruction is a very personal decision. For many women, breast reconstruction allows them the ability to maintain a feminine physique. For others, it is part of a journey of healing after breast cancer and treatments.
If you prefer a more feminine and balanced appearance, breast reconstruction may be right for you. It is important to have a realistic and healthy attitude towards breast reconstruction, specifically the expectations and outcome.
Benefits of Breast Reconstruction
Most often performed following mastectomy, breast reconstruction is also done for women who may have congenital defects or have suffered a traumatic injury to the chest area. The benefits of breast reconstruction include:
- No need for prosthetics
- Clothing fits more naturally
- Balanced appearance to the body
- Restored self-confidence
How Involved Is Breast Reconstruction?
Because there are several breast reconstruction techniques, the procedures vary for each patient. It also depends on the desires of each patient, as well as her* overall health, lifestyle, weight and other factors. Breast reconstruction is considered major surgery, so no matter the technique used, there are some common steps in the surgery. Dr. Man discusses each technique along with the pros and cons during a consultation. He will recommend the technique to best achieve each patient’s goals.
Preparing for Breast Reconstruction
Since breast reconstruction is considered major surgery, it is important to properly prepare for it. Dr. Man provides patients detailed instructions on how to prepare for breast reconstruction surgery. These instructions may include (but may not be limited to):
- Have a complete physical
- Lose some weight
- Stop smoking at least six weeks before surgery
- Stop taking aspirin or other NSAIDs that can cause bleeding
- Stay hydrated
- Buy clothing that is easy to get into and out of without raising your arms
- Establish a no-fail support system (you will not be allowed to drive a car, clean, do laundry, or lift anything for two weeks)
To avoid potential complications and risks, it is important to follow instructions before and after breast reconstruction. We also recommend patients plan for someone to take them to and from the procedure, as well as stay with them the first night.
After Breast Reconstruction
Immediately following breast reconstruction, patients are taken to a recovery area to rest comfortably until the anesthesia begins to wear off. The chest area and breasts are bandaged, and drain tubes may be put into place.
They are given medications to prevent infection as well as to minimize discomfort. It is imperative for patients to have someone stay with them for the first 24 hours after the surgery. If necessary, patients have the alternative of staying overnight at our center the first night following surgery to receive care during that time. Our nurses are all ACSL certified, and our facility has specialized recovery options, including chest wall cooling methods to reduce pain and swelling, a hyperbaric chamber, and oxygen treatments to speed healing.
The most intense discomfort occurs during the first 48 hours when range of motion is limited. Lifting the arms is difficult and should be avoided for the first few days. It is also recommended that patients sleep on an incline to avoid any issues while trying to get up from lying down.
Recovery from Breast Reconstruction
The recovery from breast reconstruction depends on the procedure. Once the specific procedure is selected, patients receive detailed recovery instructions that must be carefully followed to ensure correct healing. For most patients, the length of downtime may last for a few days up to a few weeks. As the healing proceeds, the results become more visible.
How Much Does Breast Reconstruction Cost?
The cost of breast reconstruction varies with each patient depending on the technique, the extent of the procedure and whether it is performed in conjunction with other surgeries. During your consultation, Dr. Man goes over the costs as well as financing and payment options, including credit cards, cash, and personal checks.
What Do I Do Next?
The first step towards breast reconstruction is a consultation with Dr. Man. At this appointment, he talks to you about your body and evaluates your current situation. For total breast reconstruction on both breasts, he wants a full understanding of your desires. From there, he takes as much time as necessary to walk you through the process and the procedure.
Daniel Man, M.D., is a board-certified Florida plastic surgeon who performs breast reconstruction on women living in Boca Raton, FL, and the surrounding communities who have had mastectomies and other trauma to the breasts and want a more feminine shape and contour to their bodies. Please contact us to set up your consultation today.