As a seasoned plastic surgery specialist, Dr. Papanicolaou knows that having a mastectomy is a traumatic experience — not only is it major surgery that is physically taxing, but having a breast removed is emotionally difficult. It impacts your sense of your femininity, beauty and sexuality.
If you are in good enough health to tolerate general anesthetic, breast reconstruction surgery can help you restore your breast to near normal appearance, and get your body back to one that’s familiar and comfortable.
Dr. Papanicolaou can perform the reconstruction at the same time as your mastectomy, or later, after your mastectomy scar has healed. He will discuss these options with you in detail in your initial consultation.
In order to provide each breast reconstruction patient with the best results possible, Dr. Papanicolaou uses two approaches to breast reconstruction.
Depending on your preferences and your needs, he can either use prosthetic implants, or your own tissue, taken from elsewhere on your body. Implant surgery is simpler (and shorter) than using your own tissue, but has a higher rate of complications, especially if you have had radiation to the skin on your chest.
Transplanting your own tissue requires more major surgery (and two surgical sites instead of one), and has a longer recovery time, but results in a more natural feel than implants.
Dr. Papanicolaou will speak to you in detail about having realistic expectations for your surgery. A reconstructed breast will never feel exactly the same as a natural one, nor will it have the same sensation. You will have visible incision lines on your breasts, and, if you choose to use your own tissue for reconstruction, incisions and scarring at the donor sites elsewhere on your body.