Breast cancer treatment takes a tremendous toll on the body. It can also have a significant impact on a woman’s self-esteem, especially when one or both breasts must be removed as part of the treatment plan. Breast reconstruction at Soma Plastic Surgery can restore the look and feel of natural breasts so that clothes fit comfortably, and women can enjoy higher levels of confidence.
How Breast Reconstruction Is Performed
There are two primary ways in which breast reconstruction can be performed. Women can opt to have these procedures started immediately after their mastectomies, or they can delay the reconstructive process until they have fully recovered from their breast cancer treatments. Immediate breast reconstruction is believed to have the best physical and psychological benefits; however, this option is not available to all patients. Talking with Dr. Papanicolaou and your oncologist will help you determine whether or not you are a suitable candidate for immediate breast reconstruction. In most cases, full reconstruction will require two to three separate surgeries that rebuild the breast structure in safe, manageable phases.
Breast Reconstruction Is Not Considered a Cosmetic Surgery
While cosmetic breast augmentation is a wholly elective surgery, efforts to repair and reconstruct the breast after a mastectomy is considered a valuable addition to the patient’s basic treatment plan. As a result, breast cancer survivors have special protections under federal laws that ensure that these surgeries are covered by their insurance plans. Not only do these procedures have many physical benefits, but they can also promote psychological wellness throughout the overall recovery process.
Different Reconstruction Methods
In addition to considering when you want your reconstructive procedure to be performed, you will also need to determine how you want it to be performed. Doctor Papanicolaou can recreate the look and feel of natural breasts using silicone implants, saline implants or tissue flaps. Tissue flaps are muscle and skin fat that have been retrieved from the patient’s body. It is also possible to have augmentation performed using a combination of any of these three methods. The amount of missing tissue and your goals for reconstruction will both be considered when choosing a surgical method.
The Different Phases of Breast Reconstruction
How the different phases of breast reconstruction are structured is largely dependent upon the patient’s health, goals and selected method of reconstruction. Most commonly, the implants will be installed during the initial phase or reconstruction, and the patient will be given four to six months to recover from the implantation procedure. The second surgery often involves efforts to create symmetry and balance and to ensure that the reconstructed area has achieved a natural look. The final phase entails the reconstruction of the areola and nipple. As many women are often already satisfied with their reconstructed breasts, this last phase of surgery is optional.
Through reconstructive surgeries, many breast cancer survivors can regain their confidence and a positive outlook. Doctor Papanicolaou can help you establish feasible goals for this process. Together, you can determine which reconstructive methods will create the best and most natural-looking breasts after your mastectomy.
Soma Plastic Surgery serves the Lake Mary and Altamonte Springs areas in Central Florida. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Papanicolaou and find out if you are a candidate for breast reconstruction.