Breast Reconstruction - New Bern
Breast reconstruction is achieved through several plastic surgery techniques that attempt to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance and size following mastectomy.
Although breast reconstruction can rebuild your breast, the results are highly variable:
- A reconstructed breast will not have the same sensation and feel as the breast it replaces.
- Visible incision lines will always be present on the breast, whether from reconstruction or mastectomy.
- If only one breast is affected, it alone may be reconstructed. In addition, a breast lift, breast reduction or breast augmentation may be recommended for the opposite breast to improve symmetry of the size and position of both breasts.
Tissue expansion stretches healthy skin to provide coverage for a breast implant.
Reconstruction with tissue expansion allows for a much easier recovery than flap procedures, but it can be a more lengthy reconstruction process.
It requires many office visits over 2-4 months after placement of the expander to slowly fill the device through an internal valve to expand the skin. A second surgical procedure will be needed to replace the expander with a permanent implant. Dr. Zannis frequently performs “direct to implant” reconstruction where the permanent implant is placed along with an acellular dermal matrix at the time of mastectomy. This allows for the entire breast reconstruction to be completed before you wake up from your cancer surgery.
If you will require radiation therapy as part of your treatment, a flap procedure will most likely be recommended for reconstruction.
Saline and silicone breast implants are available for reconstruction. Most reconstruction patients choose silicone because it has a softer, more natural feel. Dr. Zannis will help you choose the implant style and size that is right for you.
The possible risks of breast reconstruction include, but are not limited to, bleeding, infection, poor healing of incisions, and anesthesia risks. You should also know that:
The use of implants carries the risk of breast firmness (capsular contracture) and implant rupture. Breast implants do not impair breast health. Careful review of scientific research conducted by independent groups such as the Institute of Medicine has found no proven link between breast implants and autoimmune or other systemic diseases.
Visit breastimplantsafety.org for current information.
Following your breast reconstruction surgery, gauze or bandages will be applied to your incisions. A small, thin drainage tube will be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid.
A support bra will minimize swelling and support the reconstructed breast.
You will be given specific instructions that may include: How to care for your surgical site(s) following surgery, medications to take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with Dr. Zannis.