For most mastectomy patients, the physical loss of a breast is a severe emotional loss as well. A loss of self-esteem; A loss of femininity. There are many different approaches for Breast Reconstruction that vary according to the type of mastectomy that was performed, and to the condition of the breast skin. In some cases, reconstruction can be achieved through a simple implant or prosthesis alone. In other instances, there is not enough skin to accommodate an implant, and a “flap” of donor tissue must be brought into the area. This flap contains skin, muscle, and the blood vessels needed to nourish it and are usually taken from the back or the abdomen to provide adequate skin covering for an implant. In some flap procedures, an implant may not be necessary.
Another Breast Reconstruction technique involves placement of a balloon-like device called a tissue expander, which is placed beneath the chest muscle and gradually filled with saline to stretch the overlying skin until it is able to accommodate an implant. Additional surgery is often needed to reconstruct the nipple and areola. These reconstructive procedures are usually performed in the hospital under general anesthesia and may require a few days of hospitalization.
Post-operative discomfort is well managed by medications, and most patients are up and about within one week. Although some scarring is an inevitable part of this procedure, every effort is made to make scars as inconspicuous as possible.
The newly created breast will not be an exact duplicate of the previous breast nor will it have the same exact contour as the other breast. But the results provide a great improvement and yield considerable emotional and psychological benefits.