What to Expect with Breast Reconstruction after Mastectomy

Breast cancer is life-changing, and the recovery process can be challenging enough without thinking about how your breasts will look or feel after the mastectomy. Many doctors recommend breast reconstruction after mastectomy because it will help you remain comfortable with your body and rebuild confidence. 

When to Get Breast Reconstruction

We recognize that every woman's experience with breast cancer is different. Some women continue to live happily after mastectomy without undergoing any reconstructive procedures, while others choose to wear external breast pads that are removable at the end of the day.

However, some women choose to have reconstructive breast surgery because it makes them feel more like themselves again. Younger women especially tend to choose this option. 

Understanding Your Reconstruction Options

There are several types of reconstructive breast surgery available depending on how much of your breast tissue was removed. You can choose nipple reconstruction, breast implants, autologous tissue reconstruction and tissue flap procedures. 

With implants, the doctor can reform your breasts and ensure that they are symmetrical and properly shaped using silicone implant materials. In the case of reconstructive surgery, this procedure is not considered cosmetic so your insurance will cover it. 

If you are weary of using implants made of foreign materials, your doctor may be able to take a "flap" of tissue and muscle from another area of your body and use that to reconstruct your breasts. This is known as autologous tissue reconstruction

How Long Does Surgery Take?

The length of the surgery will depend greatly upon how much work there is to be done. In general, the procedure can be done in a few hours. The bigger question is how soon your doctors say you are ready to undergo the procedure. Depending on your insurance and other factors, it may take a few weeks or months to have your reconstructive surgery scheduled, especially if you are still recovering from the mastectomy itself or undergoing other cancer treatments.

 

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What to Expect In Recovery

Typical recovery time for reconstructive surgery is up to one month. You should be able to move around after the first few days, but you should avoid heavy lifting or other strenuous exercise until your doctor gives you the go ahead. It may take up to six months to fully heal. 

Have More Questions? Ask a Vanguard Specialist

To learn more about reconstructive surgery options, contact Vanguard Aesthetic Plastic Surgery of Fort Lauderdale today.