It is estimated that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. The loss of a breast can be psychologically devastating. Breast reconstruction surgery can dramatically restore a woman’s self-confidence, quality of life and sense of femininity. While a reconstructed breast can never truly recreate the breast that nature provided, recent surgical advances and techniques permit reconstructions with excellent shape and form.
The first step is to contact our office at 520-297-3300 to schedule a consultation with either Dr. Richard Hess or Dr. Sven Sandeen. Please allow an hour for your initial visit. At that time we will discuss your individual goals and evaluate your individual circumstances. We will discuss the options available and discuss our expectation for your outcome as well as the associated surgical risks and benefits.
Following your surgery for flap techniques and/or the insertion of an implant, gauze or bandages will be applied to your incisions.
An elastic bandage or support bra will minimize swelling and support the reconstructed breast. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid.
If your breast reconstruction surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
Following your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
Results and outlook
Healing will continue for several weeks as swelling decreases and breast shape and position improve. Continue to follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.
The final results of breast reconstruction surgery following mastectomy can help lessen the physical and emotional impact of mastectomy. The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.
Over time, some breast sensation may return, and scar lines will improve, although they’ll never disappear completely.
There are trade-offs, but most women feel these are small compared to the large improvement in their quality of life and the ability to look and feel whole.
Careful monitoring of breast health through self-exam, mammography and other diagnostic techniques is essential to your long-term health.