What To Expect After Breast Reconstruction

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What is Breast Reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction surgery is a procedure to reshape the breasts back to normal, typically after a diagnosis of breast cancer. The two categories of breast reconstruction surgery are implant-based and flap type.

The Ideal Candidates

You are a candidate for breast reconstruction surgery if:

• A breast cancer treatment was, or needs to be, conducted, so you need to rebuild the appearance of your breasts.

Preparation for Breast Reconstruction

Avoid smoking (nicotine and marijuana) before the procedure (preferably, at least two months before the surgery). It is also vital that you get a medical evaluation. The experts may ask if you have had any past medical issues (aside from your reason for breast reconstruction) before they conduct the procedure. So, be truthful. You should also avoid any anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aspirin or herbal additives. If you are on medical prescriptions, you may be asked to adjust before the surgery takes place. Do not forget to mention your final expectations of the procedure. Your board-certified plastic surgeon will give you recommendations based on your diagnosis. Note that you may need more than one surgery.

The Breast Reconstruction Procedure

Since breast reconstruction is a major surgery, it is done in a hospital environment or at North Scottsdale Outpatient Surgery Center. Often, the procedure will take about one to six hours, depending on the patient. Your plastic surgeon will use general anesthesia. They may use the flap technique to cover the breast mold. Typical flap approaches include:

  •  Latissimus Dorsi Flap
  •  Gluteal Artery Perforator (GAP)
  •  Transverse Upper Gracilis (TUG)
  •  Transverse Rectus Abdominis Muscle (TRAM)
  •  DIEP Flap

Recovery After Breast Reconstruction

Keep in mind that the type of breast reconstruction surgery will determine the recovery process. After the procedure, you are likely to spend about two to three hours resting in the surgery room. For the first few days, expect side reactions such as bleeding, blood clots, an accumulation of fluid, and excessive fatigue. There might be a pulling or stretching feeling on the breast area. Remember that smoking will delay your recovery period, so stay away from it. You also need to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.

Your plastic surgeon will give you a prescription which you should strictly follow. If you have a fluid build-up, your doctor will insert one or more drains. A drain is a small tube that clears out the surplus fluid near the operated parts. It also enhances the healing process.

Your doctor will instruct you on which type of clothes you will wear and whether you can take showers.

Typically, it is recommended that you resume physical activity after about six weeks. Note that the scars may take up to one year to fade out. If you find it hard to accept your new appearance, seek guidance from a counselor.

Schedule an Appointment with Gawley Plastic Surgery in Scottsdale, AZ

If you are considering breast reconstruction surgery, schedule a consultation with board-certified plastic surgeons, Dr. Bryan Gawley or Dr. Jennifer Geoghegan at Gawley Plastic Surgery. Call our office at (408) 842-8606 or contact us online.