What Is Breast Reconstruction
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Published by TOP4 Team
When people discuss cosmetic surgery, the talk often veers toward breast augmentation, Botox, face surgery and body contouring.
One type of cosmetic surgery that is less known is reconstructive surgery. The procedures classified as reconstructive follow a similar thread: to give the patient a sense of normalcy after undergoing a condition. This may include the improvement of appearance and improved functionality and mobility.
Candidates for reconstructive surgery include patients who have abnormal structures that may have been brought about by congenital anomalies, disease, tumours, infection, trauma or developmental abnormalities.
One type of reconstructive surgery is breast reconstruction. This type of surgery is for women who have had one breast or both removed due to cancer. The goal of the procedure is to rebuild the breast mound to resemble the other breast in terms of size and shape. Typically, this procedure is recommended for women who have undergone mastectomy. It may also be recommended for women who have undergone lumpectomy where only a part of the breast was removed.
There are two general types of breast reconstruction, briefly described below.
Just like breast augmentation procedures, breast reconstruction through implant procedures utilise implants that may be filled with either saline or silicone gel. There are two types of implant surgery.
The first type is called one-stage immediate breast reconstruction or direct to implant reconstruction. This procedure is done at the same time as the mastectomy.
In a two-stage reconstruction, a short term tissue expander is placed after the mastectomy. This expander is a balloon-like sac that expands to a desired size.
This type of procedure utilises tissues from the patient's other body parts, including the back, stomach and thighs. Typically, cosmetic surgeons use tissue from the lower abdomen. Although the procedure is more complex and entails a longer recovery period, the end result is more natural-looking breasts.
If you elect for implants for your breast reconstruction, you may need additional tissue support which will aid in positioning the muscle and providing coverage and support for the implants. Surgeons may use donated human skin or transplanted tissues. In some cases, your surgeon may use animal grafts or synthetic mesh.
Nipple and areola reconstruction
This procedure is often viewed as the last stage of breast reconstruction. The purpose of this procedure is to make the breast look natural through the reconstruction of the nipple and areola.
In this procedure, the surgeon will take tissue from a body part. This includes tissues from the new breast, the buttocks, the ear, eyelid, groin, inner thigh and the opposite nipple.
In lieu of using tissue to rebuild the nipple and areola, some patients elect to have a tattoo.