Patients who have had a mastectomy or lumpectomy can choose to have surgery to rebuild the shape of their breast(s). Our surgeons work closely with Community Cancer Care & Prevention to coordinate the timing of your reconstructive surgery and ensure the best result. We also work with women who have had surgery in the past, or at a different facility.
The physical changes from breast cancer surgery, even if they are not severe, can be harmful to a woman’s psychological well-being. Reconstructive surgery aims to cushion the emotional impact of this surgery by reversing some of the physical changes.
Our physicians perform breast reconstruction surgery at Community Medical Center under general anesthesia. Depending on your age and health, it may be done as an outpatient or with an overnight stay.
If you’ve had a lumpectomy, our physicians can rearrange, or reconstruct, your remaining breast tissue to give your breast a more normal shape and size. Most women who have this relatively minor surgery go home the same day and feel back to normal after two to three weeks.
If you’ve had a mastectomy, our physicians can use one of several techniques to recreate the size and shape of your breast. One method involves placing a tissue expander or implant under the skin and muscles of your chest wall. If you have this surgery, you’ll most likely spend one or two nights in the hospital.
Another method uses your own tissue, usually taken from your abdomen or back, to recreate your breast. This has the advantage of not using an implant, with the disadvantage of longer surgery and recovery times. Women usually stay in the hospital three to five days after surgery. Your plastic surgeon will explain the details of each surgery and recommend the method that will be best for your particular situation.
Breast reconstruction can often be done at the same time as your mastectomy or lumpectomy. It can also be done later, either for your convenience or to accommodate chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
Insurance companies that cover breast cancer surgery are required to also cover breast reconstruction. This includes surgery to the unaffected breast to provide a symmetrical look. If you have any concerns about your insurance coverage, or about any aspect of breast reconstruction surgery, our professional staff can answer your questions.
The AeroForm Tissue Expander System is touted as one of the best innovations in tissue expansion in more than 40 years. It is placed behind the chest muscle similarly to traditional saline-filled expanders, but rather than expanding via injections of saline solution, the AeroForm is needle-free and is expanded by the patient using a wireless, handheld dosage controller to release carbon dioxide.
The time it takes you to recover from surgery will depend on the type of reconstruction you have. You may be discharged home with surgical drains in your breasts, which will be removed when output decreases in the first one to two weeks after surgery. Most women begin to feel better in a couple of weeks and can return to usual activities in a couple of months.
As with any cosmetic medical procedure, results vary from patient to patient.