There are several different types of breast reconstruction procedures used to rebuild damaged or missing breast tissue due to mastectomy or injury. Breast reconstruction is a vital component of the healing process for most women who have lost a breast. While undergoing breast removal is devastating, the prospect of successful reconstruction is a hopeful glimmer of light during a dark time in any woman’s life.
This discussion empowers women to research all their procedural possibilities, when it comes to reconstruction mammoplasty.
Diversity of Breast Reconstruction Procedures
There are 2 basic approaches to breast reconstruction surgery.
The first method utilizes a tissue expander, and eventually, an artificial breast implant to reform the breast mound and achieve an aesthetic appearance.
The alternative natural reconstruction approach uses tissue harvested from the patient’s own body to recreate a missing breast.
The best technique for your particular reconstruction requirements can only be determined by your doctor. However, it is always advisable to learn about the various methods available and voice any preferences to your care provider during the surgical planning phase.
Implant-Based Reconstruction Procedures
Breast reconstruction using saline or silicone implants is very common and effective. The procedure is less complicated for the surgeon and easier for the patient to endure, as well. The recovery time for implant-based reconstruction is faster than other methods which use harvested donor tissue to rebuild the breast.
On the downside, implant-based reconstruction patients sometimes suffer from the same complications as typical cosmetic breast augmentation patients. Capsular contracture, infection and any other serious complication can necessitate implant revision or removal.
Obviously, having a skilled specialist perform your implant-based reconstruction will reduce the likelihood of post-operative complications considerably.
Natural Breast Reconstruction Procedures
The three main methods of achieving natural breast reconstruction include the TRAM flap method, the latissimus dorsi muscle flap and the free tissue grafting technique. All three of these restorative procedures can achieve excellent results when indicated.
Natural reconstruction techniques use living tissue from the patient to rebuild the breast, without the use of implants or other prosthetics. Take note that some LDM flap procedures might require the use of a breast implant, if the reconstructed breast requires more tissue than is available from the donor site.
These operations are far more complicated and grueling than implant-based reconstructions. Recovery time is significantly longer, and more painful, due to 2 surgical wounds healing at one time.
However, long-term results from natural tissue construction can be particularly fulfilling on an emotional level.
Guidance on the Best Breast Reconstruction Techniques
Choosing the best reconstruction procedure should be a team effort between you and your knowledgeable doctor. Talk openly and honestly to your plastic surgeon about what you fear and what you expect from your reconstruction.
Be sure to discuss all potential risks and benefits of your chosen procedure, in order to set the stage for a satisfying result.
Most importantly, regardless of the pain or suffering caused by the surgery, have faith that the process of rebuilding your breast is actually an intrinsic component of rebuilding your life. Surviving breast cancer, or traumatic injury, is a life altering experience and you should be proud of the courage you have demonstrated throughout the process.
Trust your doctor and plan your procedure carefully. In the end, your new breast will give you more satisfaction than you ever dreamed possible.