Is Breast Reconstruction a Major Surgery?
Breast reconstruction helps many women to regain their sense of self after a mastectomy or a lumpectomy. The objective of breast reconstruction is to rebuild the breast creating a symmetrical, natural and balanced appearance. Breast reconstruction is considered major surgery, and you may need to spend several days as an inpatient and will be unable to return to your normal daily activities for about two months.
Mastectomy vs. Lumpectomy
Mastectomy: is a procedure during which the entire breast is removed by the surgeon. This generally will include the areola as well. A nipple-sparing mastectomy is a more advanced option that could be appropriate for you. A mastectomy is performed to prevent breast cancer from reoccurring. In some cases, a lumpectomy is unable to remove all of the cancerous tissue.
Lumpectomy: is the removal of a portion of the breast which contains cancer cells. The tumor must be relatively small in comparison with the rest of the breast for a woman to be a good candidate for a lumpectomy. It is important to point out that after a lumpectomy the cancer reoccurrence rate is ten to fifteen percent higher than after a mastectomy, which has a one percent rate.
What type of breast reconstruction am I a good candidate for?
There are several factors that will determine which method of breast reconstruction will best suit you. Your main options include:
- Implants (saline or silicone)
- Autologous or skin flap surgery (using tissue from another area of your body)
- Both methods combined
Breast reconstruction may be performed at the same time as the breast cancer surgery, called immediate reconstruction, or it may occur after the mastectomy or lumpectomy has fully healed and all other treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy are complete, called delayed breast reconstruction.
Why choose Dr. Wirth?
- Dr. Wirth is the ideal candidate for breast reconstruction surgery. He is a board-certified plastic surgeon that has performed over 20,000 procedures in his 15 years of practice.
- Dr. Wirth specializes in breast, face and body procedures.
- He is among the most sought-after surgeons in Southern California for breast reconstruction procedures.
- Dr Wirth is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, Orange County Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgeons.
What is the recovery for a mastectomy with breast reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction surgery will require you to be monitored as an inpatient for several days after the procedure. You will be given pain medication for any discomfort and watched closely to ensure your healing is proceeding as it should. After several days you will be able to move your arms but should not engage in any strenuous activities, or motions such as lifting, reaching, or stretching.
Most women will be up and walking on their own within a day or so following the procedure. For implants, the average stay is one to two days. For flap procedures, your stay can be as long as six days as both the breast and the area from which the tissue was harvested must heal. Soreness may last for several weeks and it is normal to feel numbness or tightness as your body heals. Although the sensation of your original breast will not be retained, some sensation may be restored over time.