Breast reconstruction offers a pathway that many women have followed toward richer emotional and physical recoveries after injury or removal of a breast from trauma, the effects of disease or treatments for disease. Advancements in breast implants and surgical techniques have improved what is possible in reconstructing a breast with a natural-looking shape and appearance. Dr. M. Bradley Calobrace and Dr. Chet Mays believe it's important to emphasize that even with these advances, patients considering breast reconstruction in their Louisville and Lexington, KY practice should understand that the new breast will not look or feel exactly like a natural breast.
At CaloAesthetics® Plastic Surgery Center, women often have many questions about breast reconstruction after mastectomy. When performed by a skilled plastic surgeon like Dr. Calobrace or Dr. Mays, the procedure can create an enhanced breast appearance and help a woman take the next step in her fight against breast cancer. Request a consultation or call (502) 899-9979 to schedule your visit and learn more about this procedure.
Deciding When to Have Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction can be performed at the time of your mastectomy, called immediate reconstruction, or weeks, months, or years later, called delayed reconstruction. Careful discussions with the surgeon for the mastectomy and your plastic surgeon should come before you make a final decision on reconstruction timing. Each choice has its own advantages and disadvantages.
In immediate reconstruction, the plastic surgeon is in the operating room and begins as soon as the surgeon performing the mastectomy finishes. It is sometimes possible that the incision locations and method of mastectomy, such as a skin-sparing mastectomy, can be made favorable to reconstruction, but these choices vary between patients. Usually, immediate reconstruction produces superior results with fewer surgical procedures, and carries the benefit of some relief for the emotions associated with a changed body image. An elevated complication risk and lengthened recovery from the surgeries should be weighed in deciding on this option.
Reconstruction Before & After Photos
Reconstruction Case 59
Tissue Expander-Implant Reconstruction
Reconstruction Case 446
Patient had concerns regarding large, uneven, and droopy breasts. Patient desired pain relief in her shoulders, back and neck, by reducing breast volume while maintaining a positive result with shape and size. Patient was an F cup, desired to be a C cup.
Delayed reconstruction allows more time following mastectomy for considering the surgical approach to reconstruction. In cases involving radiation or chemotherapy, the time interval allows for these treatments.
About Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Each patient's medical situation, surgery goals and breast size/shape influence the unique approach taken by the plastic surgeon in the course of breast reconstruction. Often reconstruction involves 2 or more procedures over time.
- Tissue expander/implant reconstruction involves 2 procedures, where the plastic surgeon places an implant-like tissue expander under the chest tissue, which is gradually filled to create an implant pocket over 4 to 6 months. In the second stage, an implant takes the place of the expander similar to breast augmentation.
- Autologous flap reconstruction, which may performed with a variety of techniques, uses the patient's own tissue to replace the breast mound. During TRAM flap reconstruction, a segment of tissue from the abdomen is removed and used to create a breast. This tissue can either remain attached to the underlying muscle (rotation flap) or be detached and reconnected on the chest (free flap). Implants are rarely involved. Latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction is similar, but the segment of tissue comes from the back. Because this skin is thinner, an implant is often placed under the flap to provide more volume and shape to the breast.
Nipple and areola reconstruction is usually performed as a separate procedure after your reconstructed breasts have healed.
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What to Expect During Recovery
Because of the unique circumstances presented by each patient and because of the number of options involved, it is difficult to generalize about recovery time periods and instructions following breast reconstruction. Please feel that you can contact us and discuss your situation and, with that information, we can provide an overview of what can be done and what to expect.
Q. Will health insurance pay for breast reconstruction surgery?
A. In many cases this procedure may be covered by insurance. Dr. Calobrace and Dr. Mays do not participate directly with any insurance company.
Where will my breast reconstruction be performed?
If your reconstruction procedure immediately follows your mastectomy, it will likely be performed in a hospital. If performed later, the procedure may be performed in the private surgery suite at our Center. Our fully equipped, state-of-the-art operating rooms were designed and built especially for plastic surgery procedures and for use exclusively by our plastic surgeons and our highly experienced surgical team.
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