Breast Reconstruction SurgeryLearn about the factors that affect the cost of surgery
Breast reconstruction surgery is a procedure used to improve the shape of the breasts following mastectomy for breast cancer treatment, trauma, or medical conditions causing loss of breast tissue. For cancer patients, cancer survivors, and trauma survivors, breast reconstruction provides the possibility of restoring the breasts to a natural and feminine shape, improving patients’ self-confidence. Breast reconstruction is among the most rewarding procedures offered by plastic surgeons.
During breast reconstruction, additional tissue is added to the breast area to increase breast volume. The natural tissues of the breast area are also sculpted to optimize the appearance of the breasts. This procedure, which is typically covered by health insurance, aims to create a more natural appearance in the breast area following traumatic loss of breast tissue.
Who Is A Good Candidate?
Unlike many other plastic surgery options, breast reconstruction is not intended for purely cosmetic purposes. Candidates for breast reconstruction are seeking a more natural silhouette through restoring the normal shape, size, and appearance of the breasts. Whether the breast has been removed to treat breast cancer or as a pre-emptive treatment in women with a high risk of cancer due to family history, breast reconstruction can restore the natural silhouette of the breast. This procedure is available for women who have lost one or both breasts.
If you have lost one or both breasts, consult with a plastic surgeon to determine whether this procedure is right for you. Ideal candidates, although they may be cancer patients or cancer survivors, are in good overall health and at or near their ideal weight. Because breast reconstruction is considered invasive surgery, you must be healthy enough to undergo surgery. After all that you have been through, breast reconstruction offers the possibility of restoring a more natural breast silhouette, and with it, your self-confidence.
Types of Breast Reconstruction Procedures
Breast reconstruction surgery is often combined with the initial mastectomy, or removal of natural breast tissue. In this case, the surgery is often longer then when performed alone, but the patient is spared having to go any length of time without breast tissue. Breast reconstruction can also be performed at any point after the loss of breast tissue.
There are several decisions to make regarding the type of tissue that will be inserted to simulate natural breast tissue. The breasts are frequently reconstructed using the same type of silicone or saline breast implants that would be used for breast enlargement procedures. It may also be performed using donor skin, muscle, and fat from elsewhere on the body, such as the back or buttocks. While this method can result in a more natural texture in the reconstructed breast, it also requires a donor site, and is typically a longer procedure with an extended recovery period, which can include one or two additional nights in the hospital, as well as a scar in the donor area.
In cases in which the nipple and areola must be reconstructed in addition to adding volume to the breast tissue, skin grafting is most often used, as it results in the most natural appearance. The combination of skin grafting and donor tissue has made it possible for surgeons to closely approximate the look and feel of natural breast tissue.
Regardless of the exact type of breast reconstruction being performed, the procedure requires general anesthesia. It can take anywhere from two to six hours; longer procedures are typically those combined with the initial mastectomy or using donor tissue. Breast reconstruction requires a flap or incision, through which the surgeon adds implants or donor tissue, sculpting the breast to the desired shape.
Finding a Breast Reconstruction Surgeon
When selecting a surgeon, in addition to researching the cost of breast reconstruction its important to make sure your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) or other association such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Even though a membership in a society or board-certification doesn’t guarantee a successful surgery most certifying boards like these require extensive medical training, experience, and rigorous surgical education that can ensure that the most appropriate techniques are used for your breast reconstruction while reducing the risk of complications.