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Breast Reconstruction Surgery

WHAT IS BREAST RECONSTRUCTION SURGERY? 

Women who have undergone surgery as part of their breast cancer treatment may opt for breast reconstruction surgery to rebuild the look and shape of the breast.The surgeon reviews the patient's medical history and overall health and will explain which reconstructive options might be best suited.

TYPES OF BREAST RECONSTRUCTION

There are various types of reconstructive surgeries available which could at times mean more than one operation, such as:

  1. Breast Reconstruction using Implants
  2. Breast Reconstruction using own Body tissues (Flap Procedures)
  3. Reconstructing Nipple and Areola post breast surgery

THE PROCEDURE

Before Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Firstly, the  patient should have realistic expectations of how the body will look and feel after surgery.  Prior to surgery breast surgeon and the plastic surgeon shall give clear instructions on how to prepare for surgery including taking or avoiding certain medications for a period of time before surgery, dietary restrictions, etc. 

The Procedure itself often means having more than one operation. While the first creates the breast mound. Follow-up procedures such as filling expanders or creating the nipple and areola are most often done in an outpatient facility or as desired by the surgeon.

After Surgery, the recovery depends on the type of reconstruction patient has undergone.Patient must pay attention as to how to take care of the surgery sites and how to follow up with the breast care, including regular mammograms, etc.

Patients are likely to feel tired and sore for a week or 2 after implant surgery, or longer after a flap procedure, while the doctor gives medicines to help control pain and other discomfort.

Depending on the type of surgery done, the patient is most likely to be able to go home from the hospital within a few days and is required to follow the  doctor’s instructions on wound and drain care. As a basic rule, the patient would have to avoid overhead lifting, strenuous sports, and sexual activities for 4-6 weeks after reconstruction.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS DURING AND AFTER RECONSTRUCTION SURGERY?

Breast Reconstruction surgery has certain risks as with any major surgery. These may include:  problems with the anaesthesia, bleeding, blood clots, fluid build-up in the breast or the donor site, swelling and pain, infection at the surgery site(s), wound healing problems, etc.

Problems that can occur later on might include: tissue death (necrosis), loss of or changes in nipple and breast sensation, loss of muscle strength on the donor site, problems with a breast implant, capsular contracture, etc. 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

  1. Consult a Doctor immediately, in case of any new skin changes, swelling, lumps, pain, or fluid leaking from the breast, armpit, or flap donor site, or other such symptoms.

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