Reconstruction and Correction
Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Process For A Breast Reconstruction
Practice locations in Toronto and Whitby
At our practice locations in Toronto and Whitby, a breast reconstruction surgery typically involves five major steps:
- Saline is used to gradually fill a breast expander that will stretch the skin and prepare it to accept an implant underneath the pectoral muscles. The expander will be slowly filled during incremental visits.
- A TRAM flap is created using muscle, fat and skin from the abdomen to help reconstruct the breast. Depending on the anatomy, the flap can remain attached to the original blood supply or become completely detached and form a breast mound.
- A Latissimus Dorsi flap is made with the muscle, fat and skin from the back. It remains attached to the donor site with an intact blood supply and is tunneled to the chest for reconstruction purposes.
- To further add support to the reconstructed breast, excess tissue may be taken from the back and tunneled to the chest wall.
- The tissue forms a flap that can accept a breast implant, or it may have enough structural integrity to form a breast mound without an implant.
How to prepare for a breast reconstruction surgery
Alongside the oncologist, we provide all our patients with specific instructions regarding how to best prepare for their breast reconstruction surgery. These instructions will include guidelines on nutrition, medications, vitamin supplements and avoidance of smoking. When preparing, make sure to have arrangements for transportation and one or more people you can count on for help with daily activities while healing.
Who are suitable candidates for a breast reconstruction surgery?
Most patients who are medically eligible for a breast reconstruction surgery in Toronto and Whitby are individuals who have undergone a mastectomy. The ideal candidates are patients whose breast cancer has been eliminated completely through mastectomy and additional treatment.
Although some patients prefer a breast reconstruction surgery immediately following a mastectomy, there are legitimate reasons to wait as well. Many people find it uncomfortable and difficult to think about the options associated with a breast reconstruction surgery while coping with the diagnosis of cancer. Other people simply want to avoid surgeries unless they are necessary. Some have been medically advised to wait before moving forward with a breast reconstruction if the breast that is being rebuilt requires a more complicated approach.
In any case, our enhancement team at Avenue Plastic Surgery will help you to be informed and confident in preparation for a breast reconstruction surgery.
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The associated risks and uncertainties of breast reconstruction surgery
Breast reconstruction surgery is a valuable option to help breast cancer patients regain their self-confidence and quality of life through rebuilding the missing breast tissue. However, like all other surgeries, there are inherent risks and potential complications associated with the procedure.
Although relatively uncommon, the most general concerns may include bleeding, fluid collection, excessive scarring and difficulties with the anesthesia. If an implant is used, there is the possibility of an infection within the first two weeks following surgery. The most common complication with the use of an implant is capsular contracture which is a condition characterized by excessive scar tissue forming around the implant, distorting the look and feel of the breast. There are different approaches used to treat these complications but occasionally, they are problematic enough to require additional surgery.
Breast reconstruction surgery has no known effect on the recurrence of breast cancer, nor will it interfere with any treatment should the disease recur. We do recommend our patients continue periodic mammograms to monitor their health and condition closely.
Planning a Toronto or Whitby breast reconstruction surgery
A breast reconstruction surgery can be discussed as soon as a person is diagnosed with breast cancer. Ideally, our enhancement team at Avenue Plastic Surgery will work together with the surgical oncologist to develop a strategy that places the patient in the best condition for reconstruction.
After an evaluation of the patient’s health, we can explain the options available for reconstruction surgery, the risks and limitations and possible aesthetic outcomes. Post-mastectomy breast reconstruction is designed to improve physical appearance, the fit of clothing, and a person’s self-confidence, but it’s important to remember that the goal is improvement, not perfection. Beautiful, natural results can be achieved, however, each patient’s anatomy and parameters will be unique.
What happens after a breast reconstruction surgery?
Patients have reported feeling tired and sore for approximately a week or two after their reconstruction surgery. Depending on the complexity of the surgery, patients are typically able to go home within two to five days, post-operation. Discomfort can be managed with prescription medication prescribed by Dr. Golger or Dr. Romy. Detailed postoperative guidelines will be provided to you for your comfort as well as your safety. It is important to avoid any strenuous physical activities, heavy lifting and sexual activity until cleared by your surgeons.
For patients who have decided to undergo a combined mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery, the amount of recovery time needed will be roughly six weeks. If the reconstruction surgery is done separately, then the recovery time can be less, but recovery instructions are often customised for the individual.
After the initial breast reconstruction surgery, there will typically be a series of follow-up procedures scheduled; both surgical and non-surgical. Some patients may require additional reconstruction and cosmetic treatment of the nipple and areola. Depending on the final outcomes, we may also recommend an operation to enlarge, reduce or lift the natural breast so that it can match the reconstructed breast.
The final outcomes of a Toronto breast reconstruction surgery
After a breast reconstruction surgery, there is a good chance that the reconstructed breast will not match the natural breast completely in terms of firmness, shape and size. However, these differences are subtle and common even for unaltered breasts. For the majority of mastectomy patients, a breast reconstruction surgery has dramatically improved their self-confidence, appearance and quality of life.
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