Following a mastectomy, your options for breast reconstruction are broken down into two primary options. You can either rely on implants to establish a breast mound or on your pre-existing body tissue for reconstruction. Your breast size and your goals will both play a role in the procedures.
Deciding on the right breast reconstruction option is a personal decision, and it’s important to have the information and guidance that will help you determine which reconstructive option will meet your goals. Although breast reconstruction is a major adjustment, you can achieve results that leave you feeling fulfilled and restored when you choose the right providers. Make sure you are working with board-certified surgeons who have the expertise you need to work with you as you finalize your decision.
If you reside near Beverly Hills, CA, you have Dr. Gabrielle B. Davis, a top breast reconstruction surgeon, who can help you achieve the results you’re looking for. She will guide you through the process and assist you for a successful recovery.
Here is more information about the different options available for breast reconstruction after your mastectomy.
Breast Implant Reconstruction
Until recently, surgeons solely relied on tissue expanders that would reside beneath the muscle to stretch the tissue gradually for a permanent implant. This process requires an initial surgery for the expander and visits to the doctor for adding saline for tissue growth. An additional surgery is performed to take out the tissue expanders and place the permanent implants.
To simplify the process, surgeons now rely on lab-grown tissue to establish pockets so that the implant can be placed inside. This process is effective for patients who have skin remaining from the mastectomy that can support the implant.
The other option for breast reconstruction is to use tissue or flap methods whereby excess tissue is taken out from a different body area and moved to the chest to create a mound for the breast. Depending on which area of the body tissue is harvested, tissue reconstructions may be referred to as tram flap, free tram, or gluteal free flap. Your surgeon will provide details on these reconstruction options to help you determine if this method is right for you.
Surgery And Recovery
The surgery for implant reconstruction takes around 4 to 6 weeks of healing time until it is safe to return to normal activities. The recovery is less extensive, but it is more likely that you will need maintenance surgery due to shifts in the implant location. Sometimes mastectomies and reconstruction are done simultaneously, and in these cases, patients stay in the hospital for one night.
For tissue flap reconstruction, the surgery is extensive and often requires a hospital stay of up to five days. The recovery period is between three and six months before the patient can return to all normal daily activities. Many areas need to heal, including the donor site and the chest. However, once the body heals, there is minimal upkeep.