Breast reconstruction involves restoring one or both of your breasts back to near-normal shape, size, symmetry, and appearance following an injury, lumpectomy, partial or complete mastectomy or any other trauma.
Many women after having undergone some trauma are always left wondering whether they should or should not get a breast implant. There are some benefits associated with this medical decision, some of which may help you decide wisely:
• It makes the chest appear balanced when in a swimsuit or wearing a bra
• It permanently rejuvenates the breast shape
• It gives a woman confidence in her body, helping them live a happy life
• Helps women avoid using an external prosthesis
It is common for breast reconstruction to leave behind scars, but these usually fades away with time. Emerging technologies have also managed to lower the amount of scarring.
Typically, breast reconstruction involves a number of procedures that are done in stages. They can start immediately after mastectomy or be delayed until a convenient time. There are several procedures used for breast reconstruction. At our center, we preferably use fat transfer as a result of its safe standards in addition to providing consistently good results and a reduction in scarring.
Flap reconstruction and implant reconstruction can also be used. With flap reconstruction, a tissue is obtained from another part of the patient’s body and then used to form a new breast. Implant reconstruction on the other hand requires less surgery as compared to the former. But still, it may need more than one procedure to be done.
There are some considerations to take note of before selecting any of these options:
• Patient’s type of body
• Cancer treatments
• Type of mastectomy
We take a detailed look at all these types below to give a deeper insight of what to expect.
Symmetry is one key area that most patients are usually concerned about because they want beautiful breast. If only one breast is affected, then the reconstruction may happen only to it. Besides that, breast augmentation, breast reduction or breast lift may be required for the opposite breast to enhance symmetry of the two breasts.
Breast reconstruction is safe and we ensure that we correctly carry out the procedure for your benefit.
The different types of breast reconstruction options available are:
• Fat transfer
• Flap reconstruction
• Implant reconstruction
Each one of these has benefits and demerits and their selection can be aided by our breast or plastic surgeon. As you converse with these specialists, they will be able to highlight some reasons why one reconstruction is better for you than another.
As already pointed out, implant reconstruction demands for fewer surgeries, but it may in some cases be done in more than one procedure. Additionally, future surgeries may be needed in case the implants wear out.
The recovery and surgery time needed here is shorter, but since implants are typically not lifetime lasting, more surgery to replace an implant may be needed at some point.
Implant reconstruction is a good option in cases where:
● You would like to keep off the incisions in other body parts
● You want to avoid radiation therapy
● You are unable or don’t want to go through the long procedure of flap reconstruction
● You are ready to surgically alter your breasts for a balance between the two
Fat transfer, also referred to as fat grating, is one of the most recent reconstruction techniques. In this procedure, a tissue is obtained from the patient’s body – mostly the buttocks, belly and thighs – by liposuction. The obtained tissue is processed into a liquid and then injected into the affected area to recreate the breast.
Fat transfer is obtained from another form – lipofiling – which has been used for years to handle some minor issues, including position, balance and shape of the reconstructed breast. As a result of its success, doctors got the idea that they can use fat to rebuild a whole breast.
Fat grating is largely applauded due to the fact that it requires minimal surgery.
A lot of research has been done on fat regarding its stem cell properties and associated merits. In significant levels, it has been found to ameliorate radiation and damage through the increase of vascularity. In addition, it provides extra fatty tissue atop of the reconstructed breast to mask implant visibilities and contour deformities.
Our breast reconstruction center almost routinely makes use of this technique to maximize on its aesthetic outcomes. Through this technique, we have managed to improve contour and suffer from very little downtime.
Fat transfer has basically brought about a revolution in breast reconstruction. It has a short recovery time, mainly 2 to 6 weeks. The postoperative instructions given may vary from one surgeon to the other.
Some benefits of fat grating include:
● The fat used is obtained from an area that you don’t want it
● As opposed to implant, it makes use of your own tissue
● Most women have reported that their fat-transfer-reconstructed breast feels softer compared to the unreconstructed breas
However, promising and advantageous fat transfer may be, it has its own setbacks. These include:
● The best potential results may be obtained after 4 to 6 individual sessions
● A vital tissue may be exhausted and unavailable for future flap reconstruction in case it fails
Besides fat reconstruction, we may use flap surgery mostly DIEP from the abdomen that provides a person in addition the lower abdominoplasty.
Once you are done with the surgery, your surgeon will advise you to get engaged in exercises to get your shoulder and arm in its initial state. Consult your physiotherapist or nurse on the kinds of exercises to get engaged in.
While in the exercise mood, it is beneficial to put on a comfortable bra that isn’t under-wired.
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