Breast Reconstruction (Post-Mastectomy)
The Road to Recovery
As cancer can be a traumatizing diagnosis, so too can mastectomy be a traumatizing ordeal, though it is not exclusively caused by cancer. In fact, some women elect to undergo a preventative mastectomy. The last step in recovery from breast cancer and other traumas may be to rebuild the breast tissue, and Breast Reconstruction surgery is designed to do that. While it can never make up entirely for the lost breast, and there will be a difference in sensation and feeling, breast reconstruction can often go a long way in helping a woman feel like herself again.
Breast Reconstruction can be a sensitive issue and is often tied to notions of personal identity. Dr. Polsen, a Clear Lake plastic surgeon, understands the implications of Breast Reconstruction, and those implications are always on his mind during his consultations with Breast Reconstruction patients in the Houston Clear Lake Area.
- Reconstructs the breast after mastectomy or other trauma
- Some scarring is unavoidable, but breast shape and size can be improved
- Recovery: Generally several weeks
Who is a Good Candidate?
Obviously, those who decide to undertake Breast Reconstruction surgery generally have experienced trauma or damage to the breast tissue. Therefore, it’s important that candidates be healthy enough for major surgery, both physically and emotionally. Good candidates will also have realistic expectations about the loss feeling and sensation in the breast.
There are several techniques that your Houston plastic surgeon may employ in an effort to most naturally reconstruct the breast. Very often, because of the nature of a mastectomy, the breast area is often left with little tissue and no nipple or areola. Therefore, nipple/areola reconstruction will also be discussed during your consult.
Most often, general anesthesia is administered, though in some cases more localized anesthesia may be administered. Patients reconstructing only a single mastectomy may often elect for a breast augmentation or lift on the opposite breast for purposes of ensuring symmetry.
Breast Reconstruction is a major operation, and Houston Clear Lake Area candidates should plan for a serious recovery period. Patients will be given a special pressure bandage designed to limit swelling, and may also have a small tube inserted into the breast to help promote healthy drainage. It may take several weeks for swelling to subside and the breast to regain its desired shape. Dr. Polsen will prescribe pain medication as each patient’s situation warrants, and he will provide detailed recovery directions to ensure best results.