Sometimes a breast may be lost due to cancer or trauma or there may be a congenital failure to develop an adequate breast. In these cases, we offer breast reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction involves using your own tissue or prosthetic material to rebuild a natural-looking breast. Often this includes recreating a natural-looking areola and nipple. Breast lifting or breast augmentation techniques are often adapted to aid breast reconstruction.
During surgery: In reconstructing a breast, the breast mound can be rebuilt, using local tissue such as tummy fat, skin and muscle, or using back muscle and skin from the latissimus dorsi. This may be combined with a tissue expander and a staged replacement of the expander with a permanent implant, once the soft tissue has been stretched. Alternatively, simple expansion and implants may be used alone if there is enough local tissue available. This can be done immediately, at the time of mastectomy, or weeks or even years later.eeks or even years later.
The second part of breast reconstruction is creating the nipple. This is usually done after the breast has been reshaped, and usually involves a local tissue flap to build the nipple and a free graft of skin or areola from the other breast, or a medical grade tattoo to replace the areola.
Following reconstruction of one side breast lifting or reduction on the opposite side, to improve symmetry is done usually, at the time of the 2nd stage nipple reconstruction.
After reconstruction surgery, patients are placed in a surgical dressing that may include a support bra. Swelling is expected and patients should take it easy for a few days. The swelling will start to resolve within 1-2 weeks after surgery and most patients are able to resume modest activities within about 2-3 weeks. A breast lift typically takes about 6-8 weeks for a full recovery.
Swelling and bruising can be assisted by applications of ice, remember to wrap the ice in several towels, (not applying it directly to the skin or you may produce an ice burn). There may be a temporary loss of sensation around the breasts and on the nipples due to trauma to the local nerves. This usually settles in two to three month, however, may persist longer.
Do not be afraid to ask questions or to let the staff or your Surgeon know of any specific problems or worries that you may have. After drain removal, dressing check and bra fitting you will be followed up on a regular basis by our nursing staff.