Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer though a lot of awareness-raising campaigns are run. Tumor tissue or the whole breast should be removed by surgery sometimes. As a result the patient can feel less feminine or incomplete. Mastectomy is the medical term for the surgical removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely because of the tumor. Breast reconstruction surgeries can be administered in conjunction with mastectomy in order to support the patient psychologically.
How is breast reconstruction surgery administered?
There are different methods to perform this surgery. The most preferred method is to enlarge the skin of the removed breast. It is a progressive surgery. After the mastectomy, the surgeon puts an artificial and temporary prosthesis under the skin of the removed breast. It is filled with salted water by gradual injections in order to enlarge the skin step by step. After achieving a desired enlargement on that area, temporary prosthesis is changed with the permanent prosthesis. Flap reconstruction method involves recreating the breast by tissues removed from the other areas of the body. It is also a progressive surgery. Recovery time of this surgery is longer and it will leave more scars compared to the skin enlargement method. Flap reconstruction method gives breasts a natural look.
Who can have this surgery?
Though all the patients whose breast is removed have this surgery, patients who do not have any parenchyma are more suitable for this surgery.
What happens after the surgery?
Breast reconstruction surgery has positive effects on the patient’s social life and general look. A research made in USA shows that 98% of people who have this surgery will prefer it again. There may be slight differences between the constructed and healthy breast but those differences cannot be noticed by other people. Breast reconstruction surgery aims to create a breast as similar as a natural one.
How long does the healing process take?
Breast reconstruction surgery is administered under general anesthesia and its duration depends on the preferred method. While breast prosthesis method takes one or two hours, flap reconstruction method may take four or ten hours. The patient stays in hospital for one three days if breast prosthesis method is used but flap reconstruction method requires the patient to stay in hospital for four or seven days. Drains which are put in order to evacuate the plethora are removed one or four day after the surgery. If silicone prosthesis is used for surgery, the patient resumes her life in a few days but resuming her life may take a week after a surgery in which flap reconstruction method is preferred. The patient should avoid lifting heavy things, having sexual intercourse or driving for four or eight weeks. Empurpling, swelling and aches will fade away day by day. Your surgeon will inform you about when you can do physical exercises. Generally it is advised not to have sexual intercourse and not to do heavy physical exercises.
Will I need to have other surgeries after having breast reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction surgeries are completed in a few sessions. Flap revision, breast lift, breast reduction and silicone prosthesis implementation may be taken as further options. The nipple-areola can be created with different methods but it is not as the same with a natural one. Some patients do not require creation of a nipple-areola.