Recovery: 1-2 weeks
Cost: $6,000 - $8,000
What is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast cancer affects one in nine women. Breast reconstruction is performed to restore the shape of a woman’s chest following surgery for breast cancer. This procedure seeks to restore a patient’s sense of femininity. Ideally, you should consult with a plastic surgeon prior to undergoing surgery to remove breast cancer. Often, reconstruction can be performed at the same time as a mastectomy. Breast reconstruction can be performed months or years later for women who delayed consultation with a plastic surgeon for any reason.
What can breast reconstruction do for me?
- I had a lumpectomy and now my breasts are asymmetrical
- I am having a mastectomy and want my breast reconstructed at the same time
- I had a past mastectomy and now wish to restore my breast
Candidates for Breast Reconstruction
Anyone who has had surgery for breast cancer that has significantly affected the shape of their chest/ breasts should at the very least have a consultation with a plastic surgeon. This way they can learn about what options there are to restore their chest to its pre-cancer surgery shape. The ideal candidate for reconstruction should be in good overall health and have realistic expectations about what breast reconstruction can accomplish.
Breast Reconstruction FAQs
An expander is basically an empty breast implant that is placed under the skin following a mastectomy. The implant is filled over the course of several weeks to slowly stretch the skin until there is enough room for the breast implant to be placed. Once the breast pocket is created, the expander can be removed and the permanent implant can be placed.
After breast reconstruction, you can expect a week or two to recover. You should take this time off work and avoid movements that could strain the chest. Your exact recovery and results will depend on the technique used during your reconstruction procedure. Swelling can take many months to resolve following your procedure, so it’s important to be patient with judging your final results.
Your breast reconstruction procedure can take anywhere from 1-6 hours depending on whether you are having implants placed or a tissue transfer. Tissue and fat transfer techniques typically take longer.
Most of the discomfort you experience after breast reconstruction will occur in the first week of your recovery. This can be managed with prescription pain medication. After the first few days, you might switch to an over-the-counter pain medication. After the first week, the majority of your discomfort will have subsided.