Mastectomy is a term for the surgical removal of the breast. It is often used to treat different stages of breast cancer and other conditions like fibrocystic changes and breast abscesses.
Losing one or both breasts from a mastectomy can be an emotionally devastating experience for many women. While it’s natural to feel grief over this type of loss, it is reassuring to know that there are ways to regain your body and reclaim your femininity after the surgery.
Breast reconstruction after a mastectomy is an essential step in the healing process for many women. It is a procedure that is becoming more accessible with multiple options available compared to the past. It aims to help patients regain as much standard and functional body image as possible.
This blog post will explore five of the most common breast reconstruction options available today – pros and cons included. The best option for you will depend on your personal goals, body type, lifestyle, and medical history.
No matter what route you choose, know that it doesn’t define who you are; instead, it gives you back some control over your body image by giving shape to something that once was taken away from you.
Here are five popular options:
Breast Reconstruction Options After Mastectomy
Implant-based breast reconstruction is a widespread technique following a mastectomy. It involves placing a saline or silicone gel-filled tissue expander beneath the chest muscle, after which an implant can be inserted.
- Offer patients an expeditious and easy route to reconstructing their breasts, as there is no additional surgery for tissue site sources.
- It creates fast, effective results for individuals who lack enough tissue and don’t want an extended recovery period.
- Implants typically need to be replaced every 8 to 10 years.
- There is the risk of infection or rejection by the body depending on the implant used.
- Not suitable for a patient undergoing radiation.
Despite its drawbacks, implant-based reconstruction remains a popular option for those seeking to restore their breasts following mastectomy.
Flap reconstruction is more complex than implant-based reconstruction but offers a more permanent solution. It involves taking tissue from other parts of the body(flap), such as the back, abdomen, or buttocks, and transferring it to the chest area to recreate the shape and size of the breasts.
- Flap reconstruction offers a more natural-looking result. It also requires more surgery time for the donor site.
- It can be used to repair damaged skin as a result of cancer treatment.
- More extended recovery periods and is associated with a greater risk of complications.
- Death of the grafted skin(Neurosis)
Hybrid Breast Reconstruction
Hybrid breast reconstruction is much like other types of reconstructive surgery but with implant-based and flap techniques. An implant (silicone or saline) is combined with additional tissue from another body part to ensure that results are as natural as possible.
While some risks may be involved in this type of procedure, it is considered a safe and effective approach for creating desired outcomes and has some advantages compared to implant-based reconstruction alone.
- It enables patients to create their desired results.
- It may also provide better volume control than just using an implant.
- It requires two surgeries, both of which carry risks, including a higher risk of complications from the reconstruction procedure and a longer recovery time.
- If the tissue used for reconstruction does not survive after being transplanted, further procedures may be required.
- Hybrid breast reconstruction is not suitable for individuals who are obese or have diabetes or other significant health complications, as these conditions can increase the risk of complications.
- Although hybrid breast reconstruction can create a natural-looking result, it may not be as durable or long-lasting as implant-based reconstruction.
Fat Grafting Breast Reconstruction
Fat grafting, or autologous fat grafting, is an innovative way of reconstructing breasts. The liposuction procedure removes fat from other body areas and is washed, liquified, and re-injected into the scope of the breast reconstruction.
- It carries less risk than other methods and may provide better results with minimal scarring.
- This method can help to minimize any size difference between reconstructed breasts, regain a more natural appearance, improve symmetry, and even reduce radiation therapy.
- It may require multiple treatments over time, as the body may reabsorb some fat.
- It is a relatively new procedure and may require multiple sessions to achieve desired results
Nipple reconstruction is a procedure that can be done after breast reconstruction to restore the appearance of the nipples.
The construction uses skin flaps or fat grafts, which are then colored using permanent tattoos to recreate a more natural look and feel.
Other than surgical nipple reconstruction, a woman can opt for a 3D nipple tattooing, which can be a viable alternative.
- It can restore a more natural-looking breast shape while restoring sensation in the nipple.
- The surgery typically has low risks and complications, with minimal scarring due to its smaller size.
- Additionally, it is often done as an outpatient procedure under general or local anesthesia.
- It’s expensive, as the cost can be high compared to other breast reconstruction methods.
- Even after the procedure is completed, there may still be some scarring or changes in nipple shape and size.
- It typically requires multiple operations, which can add to the total cost and recovery time involved.
What breast reconstruction option is the best for me?
The best way to determine the most appropriate reconstructive surgery for an individual is to consult a plastic surgeon specializing in breast reconstruction. Talking to them will help ensure that your medical needs, lifestyle, and aesthetic goals are considered when deciding on the best option.
Are you considering cosmetic surgery? Boutinic Aesthetics is a trusted name in plastic surgery in South Florida. We provide Implant-Based Breast Reconstruction with flexible financing options.
Our state-of-the-art clinic offers personalized care, along with support and guidance, from preoperative consultations to postoperative follow-up visits to reach your desired outcome together. Contact us for Breast Reconstruction surgery in Miami.