Thousands of women face difficult breast cancer treatments every year in Orange County. Breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy (breast removal) is an important part of the healing process. Today, there are advanced techniques and medical devices that can help women replace what was lost, not only physically but also mentally.
Our Newport Beach plastic surgeons are able to recreate a breast that looks and feels much like natural tissue. Breast reconstruction can be performed at the time of breast removal so that the patient is able to wake up and see a breast mound already in place. Some women choose to postpone reconstructive surgery based on personal preference while others may wait due to other health conditions.
At the Newport Beach and Long Beach locations of CosmetiCare, our plastic surgery specialists have experience with reconstructive breast surgery techniques. Learn more when you request a consultation with one of our surgeons.
What Do I Need to Know?
Breast reconstruction often involves the use of breast implants – our patients can choose between saline or silicone gel-filled implants. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved use of silicone gel implants for those women who undergo breast reconstruction. A two-stage reconstruction is performed for patients whose skin and chest wall tissues are tight and flat. First, a tissue expander is implanted beneath the skin and chest muscle. The surgeon injects a salt-water solution into the expander over time at regular appointments. Once the skin has been stretched enough, surgery is again required to remove the expander and a permanent implant is inserted.
The tissue flap procedure is an alternative to using breast implants. This technique involves using tissue from your abdomen, back, hip or buttocks for reconstruction. With either technique, after the breast has had time to heal, patients may have their nipple and areola reconstructed. Tissue for this procedure is taken from your body. To create color in the areola, tattooing can be performed to match the other breast.
When Can the Surgery Be Performed?
- Breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as mastectomy. This can be a good time for surgery as breast tissues are typically unharmed by radiation therapy or scarring.
- A patient’s overall health is taken into consideration before the decision is made to perform both mastectomy and breast reconstruction at the same time.
- It is best to know that the patient’s cancer, as far as can be determined, has been eliminated by mastectomy.
How Will I Look & Feel Afterward?
- Expect to feel sore and swollen for one to two weeks following implant reconstruction. Flap procedures may leave you sore longer.
- You will go home with surgical drains left in the breasts to help reduce residual fluid and bleeding that can build up following surgery.
- Medication prescribed by your physician will help minimize any discomfort.
- Reconstruction will not leave your breasts with the same feeling you had before your mastectomy. It can take up to two years for the tissues to completely heal and your scars to become less noticeable.
- Avoid lifting and strenuous activity for four to six weeks.
- You may return to work after six to eight weeks.
- Reconstruction does not interfere with chemotherapy or radiation treatment and it does not affect breast cancer recurrence.
The goal of breast reconstruction surgery is to improve your appearance. Perfection is not possible, but women appreciate that they can improve their appearance and restore their self-confidence with this procedure.
Request a consultation online today or give us a call to schedule your appointment to learn more about breast reconstruction at our Newport Beach or Long Beach office.