After the trauma of a mastectomy or partial mastectomy, many women feel self-conscious about the impact on their appearance. For these patients, breast reconstruction surgery may be performed to restore a natural appearance in the bust line, which in many cases also restores lost self-esteem. At Menard Plastic Surgery, breast reconstruction is performed with sensitivity by Dr. John Menard, a trusted and respected plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, serving residents of Tuscaloosa, and nearby vicinities in Alabama.
What is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure performed to restore the natural shape and appearance of breasts in patients who have lost a breast due to prior surgery or illness. Breast reconstruction restores the natural appearance of a woman’s breast or breasts with the aim of restoring the breasts to their natural shape and size as closely as possible.
Who Makes a Suitable Candidate for Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction surgery is most often performed on mastectomy patients who have lost a breast due to required surgery. Ideally, the patient should be free of cancer at the time of breast reconstruction.
When Is the Best Time to Undergo Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
As soon as you learn that you may require a mastectomy, you may begin planning for breast reconstruction. Your oncologist and plastic surgeon will need to join forces in order to develop a treatment plan that will incorporate breast reconstruction surgery into your care. In many cases, breast reconstruction may be performed during the same session as the mastectomy so you never have to endure the trauma of seeing yourself without breasts. In cases where only one breast has been removed or damaged, it may be necessary to perform reconstructive surgery on both breasts to ensure a balanced appearance between the pair.
Does Breast Reconstruction Require Breast Implants?
In many cases, breast reconstruction will require the use of a saline or silicone implant in order to create the look and feel of natural breasts. If your reconstructive surgery requires the use of breast implants, you may select the size and shape of your implants with guidance from Dr. Menard.
How is Breast Reconstruction Performed?
In many cases, implants may be used to restore the shape and volume of the natural breasts. Typically, there are two methods that may be used to perform the reconstructive surgery, depending on your condition: skin expansion and flap reconstruction.
What Can I Expect After Breast Reconstruction?
It is normal to feel some degree of swelling and soreness for about a week or two after undergoing breast reconstruction surgery. We will prescribe medication to ensure your maximum comfort during the recovery period. Depending on the extent of your surgery, you may be in the hospital for about two to five days. In some cases, surgical drains may be used to remove excess fluids from surgical sites, but are typically removed within a week or two. Sutures will be typically removed in about one week to 10 days. Breast reconstruction is a complex procedure, and realistically, you should give yourself about six weeks to recover. Also, bear in mind that the entire reconstruction may require multiple procedures, and you will have to provide yourself with proper rest and recovery time after each one.
While reconstruction typically does not restore normal sensation to breast tissue, some may return gradually over time. Surgical scars will also fade away over time, though they may never quite disappear entirely.
Dr. Menard will provide extensive, detailed post-operative instructions, and you will be required to attend follow-up visits. We advise that you avoid such activities as overhead lifting, strenuous sports, and sex for three to six weeks following reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction restores a woman’s natural appearance after having lost one or both breasts due to illness, injury, trauma, or surgery. If you want to learn more about breast reconstruction, contact our team at Menard Plastic Surgery, led by Dr. John Menard, a trusted and qualified plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Menard Plastic Surgery proudly serves residents of Tuscaloosa, and neighboring communities in Alabama.