A woman’s breasts can be a vital part of her femininity, so when they are removed or changed due to the necessary and recommended treatment of cancer, it can affect her both physically and emotionally. At Terrasse Aesthetic Surgery, we understand, and that’s why Dr. Terrasse is proud to offer breast reconstruction surgery.
If you’ve undergone a mastectomy or lumpectomy, or are about to, your doctor may have talked to you about your options for breast reconstruction. When you come in for a consultation with Dr. Terrasse, he will examine you and talk with you about your desires and goals for breast reconstruction. He will also consult with your oncologist and general surgeon, so that everyone is on the same page and so that he can be fully versed in your medical history and be prepared for any issues that may arise.
Options for Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction can take place either during a mastectomy or after, and can even be done further down the line. The technique you choose will influence whether you have immediate surgery, or whether it will be done in stages. Your health and current treatment plan is also a factor, which is another reason we work with your oncologist and other doctors. There are two main ways to go about the reconstruction procedure:
Autologous (flap) Reconstruction
Autologous (meaning “involving one person as both donor and recipient) reconstruction is a procedure that uses tissue from a donor site on your body to create a breast shape. This tissue – which can include skin, fat and occasionally muscle – is typically taken from your abdomen, back or thigh, and used to form a new breast. If you choose to have implants put in at this time, you can, but depending on what your desired results are, autologous reconstruction on its own may be satisfactory.
Implant reconstruction is similar to a regular breast augmentation procedure, where Dr. Terrasse places silicone or saline implants in your chest to rebuild your breasts. The process can be completed in one step, or he may take a staged approach with the placement of temporary devices called expanders to help make the most desirous shape and size for your body proportions and goals.
The surgical procedure you choose will be based on several factors, including your body type, where you are in your treatment, and your end goals. For example, slender women without a lot of body fat may not be a good candidate for autologous reconstruction, as they don’t have enough excess tissue at the donor sites to use for flap surgery. On the other hand, implant reconstruction may not be the best choice if you have had radiation, because as helpful as radiation is in treating cancer, it also causes the skin to be tougher and more resistant to stretching.
Breast Reconstruction Recovery and Results
Depending on which method of reconstruction you choose, and whether you have surgery on your opposite breast as well to maximize symmetry, your recovery process and timeline will be different, but Dr. Terrasse will provide you with post-surgery instructions, and you will meet with him for follow-up appointments during the healing process.
Results of breast reconstruction are affected by other treatments you may receive, genetics, weight gain or loss and other factors. You may experience some drooping or sagging or even firmness as time passes, but that is an unavoidable part of the natural aging process. Dr. Terrasse is well versed in each of the options available for revising breast shape and size, so your relationship with his practice is ongoing to help make you stay happy with your body well beyond your treatment period for the cancer.
It is important that you have realistic expectations of your reconstructed breasts. The ideal outcome of your surgery is that you look and feel balanced and symmetrical. You may not think your breasts feel as natural as they should, or it may take a while to become accustomed to the lack of sensation. You may also opt to have a nipple tattooed on or reconstructed to make your results look even more natural, but whatever you choose, our goal is to make sure that you feel whole, both physically and emotionally.
If you have had a mastectomy or lumpectomy, or are about to, and want to explore your options for breast reconstruction, let Dr. Terrasse help. Call Terrasse Aesthetic Surgery today at 847-234-2400 to schedule a consultation.