Breasts are a prominent feature on a woman’s body. Every woman dreams of a pair of round, full, and perky breasts. The shape of the breasts can be very important when it comes to a woman’s appearance and her confidence.
Women who suffer from breast cancer must undergo a mastectomy or lumpectomy procedure to remove the cancerous tissue. As a result of these procedures, the breasts’ natural shape and size are altered.
In a mastectomy, the entire breast is removed, while in a lumpectomy, a portion of the breast is removed. In either case, women undergoing such procedures often experience a decline in self-confidence and may even find themselves emotionally traumatized, especially when the patient is quite young.
In order to restore the shape, size, and symmetry of the breasts, many women undergo a cosmetic procedure known as breast reconstruction.
A breast reconstruction is a plastic-surgery procedure in which the natural size and shape of the breasts are restored. Unlike procedures such as breast augmentation and reduction, breast reconstruction is a bit more complex and extensive. This is because in the case of a breast reconstruction, everything has to be restored and replicated, from the natural roundness of the breasts to the areolae and nipples.
The procedure starts by administering either general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation, depending upon the health of the patient and the plastic surgeon’s discretion. This helps the patient avoid feeling any pain during the procedure.
The first step is creating the breast mound. This can be done in multiple ways. In some cases, a breast implant can be inserted. The breast implant restores the natural roundness of the breasts.
In other cases, before an implant can be inserted, the chest tissues must be expanded to prepare them to support a breast implant. This is done through the placement of a tissue expander, a temporary prosthetic. This prosthetic is gradually filled with saline over the course of several visits to expand the chest tissues. Once they are ready, the prosthetic is removed and replaced with an implant.
When there is not enough chest tissue in the area, tissue from another part of the body can be taken and attached to the chest. This is known as flap reconstruction.
The final step is in developing the nipple and areola. This is done by manipulating the skin to resemble the areola and the nipple. The dark color of the areolar region is restored through tattooing.
As you can see, breast reconstruction is an extensive process, and complete results can only be achieved over the course of a couple of months or more.
Who Is a Good Candidate for a Breast Reconstruction?
In order to eliminate risks during the procedure, breast-reconstruction candidates should have fully completed their radiation or chemotherapy treatments. They should also be strong enough for the surgery and the recovery process.
Finding Out More About Breast Reconstruction
If you are scheduled for mastectomy or lumpectomy, it is important to arrange a consultation at Northwestern Specialists in Plastic Surgery to find out more about breast-reconstruction surgery. Contact our office today to set up your consultation.