Although you’re grateful for lifesaving breast cancer surgery and treatment, after you’re in remission and the crisis is over, you may feel a deep sense of loss and experience a dip in self-esteem. You don’t look — or feel — like the old you. You want your body back.
Breast reconstruction surgery can restore your pre-op figure and self-confidence. Mark Mathieson, MD, specializes in flattering and natural looking and feeling breast reconstruction surgery at Sterling Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, PA, in Sarasota, Florida.
If you’ve undergone or are about to undergo a partial, total, or double mastectomy, here’s what you need to know about breast reconstruction surgery.
Breast reconstruction surgery restores your self-image
Losing any body part is devastating. However, the breasts are such an iconic feature of the female body that many women experience an identity crisis when their breasts are removed or altered.
To restore their breasts and their figures, more than 109,000 women opted for breast reconstruction after their mastectomy in 2016. You can choose breast reconstruction at the same time as your mastectomy or wait until after you’ve healed. You can even have the reconstruction years after your mastectomy.
Breast reconstruction offers a number of aesthetic and practical benefits, such as:
- Restores breast size and shape
- Allows for proper fit of clothes and bras
- Avoids the use of prosthetics
- Improves self-image and confidence
Dr. Mathieson will discuss your aesthetic goals with you, so he can make sure your expectations are realistic. He offers several procedures and may use a combination of techniques to achieve optimal results.
How breast reconstruction works
Your reconstructive surgery may range from minor scar revision to comprehensive rebuilding of form and tissue. Reconstruction options include:
- Tissue expanders, which make room for breast implants
- Breast implants placed under your skin and muscle
- DIEP flap surgery, which uses tissue from another part of your body
- Origami technique, which utilizes remaining breast skin to rebuild a mound
- Fat grafting, which uses your own fatty tissue to add volume to your restored breast
Dr. Mathieson performs reconstruction under general anesthesia. You should make arrangements for household help and care, because you’ll need to stay in the hospital for a few days while you recover.
After breast reconstruction surgery
You may feel some pain, swelling, and discomfort in the first weeks after your surgery. We’ll make sure you have the proper medications to ease your symptoms. You may also feel fatigued as your body recovers from the trauma.
Your new breasts may be bruised or red, especially at the incision sites. You can accelerate your recovery by following our post-op instructions and limiting your movement until healing has progressed. If you have drainage tubes in place, we’ll let you know exactly how to care for them.
We may recommend that you wear a supportive elastic bra during the initial stages of healing.
Over the next 3-6 months, you’ll notice ongoing improvement in the appearance of your breasts as scars lighten and fade and bruising subsides.
Even though reconstructed breasts are often created using tissue and fat from other areas of your body, the nerves and vascular system are no longer attached. You may not have much or any sensation in your reconstructed breasts. This is one of the many factors you should consider before undergoing this procedure.
If you have breast cancer and are facing a single or double mastectomy — or have already had one — we invite you to come in and discuss your breast reconstruction surgery options with Dr. Mathieson. To learn more, call 941-208-6696 to book an appointment with Sterling Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, PA, today.