For women looking to have some form of reconstructive breast surgery, most of them have different fears of the outcomes that can make them skeptical about the whole procedure. They worry about how the new breasts will look like, if they will feel like their old natural breasts or if there will be any complications on their breast wellness.
When planning to go for reconstructive surgery, it is important to have an idea of what to expect. Understanding the best care practices of the surgery site and follow up with your doctor are key to ensuring that the recovery is faster and efficient. Talking to women who have gone through a similar experience can also help in knowing what to expect.
What is breast reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is done through the addition of saline or silicone implants or muscle flap reconstruction under the skin on your breasts to enhance the size, symmetry, and shape of your breasts. The most commonly used type of reconstruction is the use of implants.
Rebuilding breasts with your muscle tissue is a long process since it involves a lot of sculpting and customization. The main advantage of this is that the breast can be recreated into a perfect shape. It takes longer to heal though. Tissue flaps are better than implants since the tissue around the implant can harden distorting your breast shape.
Mainly reconstructive surgery is done on women looking to:
- Enhance their natural breasts making them fuller and perkier
- Reduce big breasts that may be too big in proportion to the owner’s body. Very big breasts can also cause her physical strain
- Rebuild the breasts after breast cancer treatment.
Reconstructive breast surgery recreates the projection of the cleavage and the contours of your natural breasts or creation of the entire organ for new implants depending on your needs. The factors influencing your reconstruction include skin elasticity, the structure of your chest, and the most important being the skill of the specialist who will be involved in the procedure.
Recovery after breast reconstruction
After reconstructive breast surgery, you probably will feel tired and sore for a week or so. Your doctor can give you pain meds for that. Recovery period for surgeries without flaps is faster, and you can recover within six to eight weeks. A flap procedure will leave you with two surgical incisions that take longer to heal.
The incisions are made on the inframammary fold that is under the breast and at the areola. A scar at the areola can be masked by tattooing. Tattooing the areola is done for procedures which the nipple needs to be indicated for example reconstruction after cancer treatment. For flap reconstruction, incisions will be made at the donor site too.
Since there are different types of breast reconstruction procedures, your doctor might discharge you from the hospital within a few days. Drains will remain in place as you go home to remove fluid from the surgery site to facilitate healing and avoid infection. The fluid drains into a hollow ball that is emptied within set intervals which your doctor will show you how to do.
Return to Normalcy
The healing time from the surgery will vary depending on the procedure that was performed on you. If you had a flap procedure, the healing time might be longer. The swelling can disappear after two months when proper care is taken. The healing time for the tissues and fading of scars can range from one to two years.
Reconstruction may not restore the normal feeling fully, but after a couple of years, some feeling might return. During surgery, the delicate nerves might be removed or destroyed in the case of mastectomies for cancer patients. As a result, sensations may be lost. Since nerves can regenerate in some cases, some feeling might be regained, but all this varies between individuals and the nature of your procedure.
It is important to follow your doctor’s advice on the resumption of normal activities and stretching exercises. This is because some exercises are specific to different procedures. In case of a problem. You should call your doctor to address the issue. Skin changes, lumps, leaking fluids, and pain should be reported to the doctor as soon as possible.
Emotional adjustment is also key in ensuring that your recovery process goes on well and speed up the return to normalcy. Even if full feeling might not return, appreciation for your new breast will make the adjustment easier. You can choose to talk to a mental health professional or to other women who have gone through a similar procedure.
Wearing a regular bra might be out of the question for the first few months due to the under-wires from the surgery. Your doctor will help you decide to wear comfortable bras after you are completely healed.
Before the procedure, thorough discussions of the expected outcomes should be discussed to ensure that you do not have unrealistic expectations. It is important to ensure that you talk to other women who have gone through the procedure for a first-hand perspective of the whole procedure.
It is important to consider a wide range of options for reconstruction to achieve your specific results. You should also choose a surgeon experienced to do the procedure as you prefer. It is also important to note that revision surgery is possible. This means that if you are not comfortable with the initial results of surgery and you cannot live with your breasts like that, you can have it corrected to suit your references.
For more information, contact the breast reconstruction specialists in New York for a consultation. Madison Plastic Surgery employs five highly qualified and experienced surgeons: Dr. Pey-Yi Kevin Lin, Dr. Marc Everett, Dr. Christine Blaine, Dr. Marcelo Ghersi, and Dr. Jason Altman. The practice has offices in New York and Chicago.