Breast reconstruction following a life-altering mastectomy can be a physically and psychologically rewarding experience for many women. Breast reconstruction is a complex process intended to restore the size and shape of the breast mound, as well as the appearance of the nipple.
Who Can Benefit From Breast Reconstruction?
- If you've been diagnosed with breast cancer, or you have already undergone a mastectomy, then you are likely a good candidate for breast reconstruction.
- Breast reconstruction can be performed immediately following a mastectomy, or at a later date, depending on the individual needs of the patient.
- Ideal candidates should possess otherwise good physical and psychological health, as well as realistic expectations prior to undergoing breast reconstruction surgery.
- Factors such as your current health status, stage and type of cancer and ongoing treatments will help determine if breast reconstruction is right for you.
Breast Reconstruction In Orange County: What to Expect
- Breast reconstruction is a highly individualized procedure. You can elect to reconstruct your breast using implants, natural body tissue or a combination of both.
- General anesthesia will be administered prior to your procedure. Each method of breast reconstruction may involve multiple surgeries before optimal results are achieved.
- Tissue flap procedures use donor tissue from your stomach, back, buttocks or thighs to rebuild the breast mound. A silicone or saline breast implant may be placed underneath the transplanted tissue to achieve symmetry with the unaffected breast.
- Tissue expansion is another reconstructive technique, which involves the placement of an inflatable balloon device behind the breast mound. The device is slowly filled with saline over the course of several months to stretch the skin. An implant may also be placed in conjunction with this technique.
What Happens After Breast Reconstruction?
- Breast reconstruction may involve one or several overnight hospital stays during the initial phase of recovery. The length of your hospital stay will depend on the type of breast reconstruction and your unique healing process.
- It is common for patients to experience some discomfort, swelling and bruising for the first several days following surgery. Dr. Krugman may provide you with prescription pain medication to alleviate some discomfort.
- You will need to attend several check-up office visits following your procedure to ensure proper healing. If your reconstructive procedure involves tissue expansion, your expander will need to be filled with saline approximately once a week for several weeks to reach optimal size.
- Most women are capable of returning to work and most other normal activities within six weeks of surgery. More strenuous activities may be restricted for several months.
Alternatives to Breast Reconstruction
- Some women choose not to have breast reconstruction, or are not ideal candidates for surgery. In these instances, an external prosthesis made of synthetic foam and a customized bra may serve as an alternative to breast reconstruction surgery.
Schedule Your Consultation
Dr. Mark E. Krugman is a board-certified plastic surgeon serving the Tustin/Santa Ana area and Orange County. If you are interested in setting up a consultation for breast reconstruction with Dr. Krugman, please call our office at 714-972-1811.