What is reconstructive surgery for breast cancer? Breast reconstruction is surgery to recreate breasts after mastectomy or lumpectomy. Sometimes reconstruction takes several surgeries. There are many breast reconstruction techniques. Some use silicone or saline breast implants.

Is breast reconstruction a major surgery? Breast reconstruction is major surgery that can require several days in the hospital, followed by weeks of recovery at home. The length of recovery depends on the type of reconstruction performed. After surgery, patients may have: Limited activity for up to two months.

How long does it take to recover from reconstructive breast surgery? Most women can start to get back to normal activities within 6 to 8 weeks. If implants are used without flaps, your recovery time may be shorter. Some things to keep in mind: Certain types of reconstruction surgery do not restore normal feeling to your breast, but in other types some feeling might return over time.

What is the safest breast reconstruction surgery? Breast implants are a safe and popular choice for breast reconstruction. The main disadvantage of implants compared to free-flap surgery is that implants must be replaced at certain points in life due to age-related body changes, failure of the implant, or age of the implant.

What is reconstructive surgery for breast cancer? – Additional Questions

What are the side effects of breast reconstruction surgery?

Possible problems with breast reconstruction
  • Blood clots. After surgery, you’re at risk of blood clots developing in your legs.
  • Wound infection.
  • Fluid under the wound (seroma)
  • Flap failure.
  • Loss of sensitivity.
  • Hardening and changing shape of the implant.
  • Leakage of the implant fluid.
  • Unequal breasts.

How do I prepare for breast reconstruction?

How should I prepare for breast reconstruction?
  1. Get lab testing or a medical evaluation.
  2. Take certain medications or adjust your current medications.
  3. Stop smoking.
  4. Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding.

Is there different types of breast reconstruction?

The two main types of breast reconstruction are implant reconstruction and tissue (flap) reconstruction. Sometimes the implant and flap procedures are used together to rebuild a breast.

What is the most common breast reconstruction procedure in the US?

The most common pedicle flap used for breast reconstruction is the latissimus dorsi (LD) flap, where tissue from the back (skin, fat, and muscle) is used to make a new breast. Tissue from the abdominal wall (tummy) can also be used as a pedicle flap (transverse rectus abdominis muscle or TRAM flap).

What is better DIEP flap or implants?

Women who have undergone chemotherapy for months do not wish to get implants that would again require future surgeries or revision. The DIEP flap breast reconstruction technique is an extensive surgery, but in case of future radiation requirement, the implants would have to be removed and DIEP remains the best choice.

What are the best implants for reconstruction?

Gummy bear implants are the newest type of implant. They are made from a highly cohesive silicone gel. These implants hold their shape particularly well, which has unique advantages for breast reconstruction. They also tend to have superior long-term performance due to a lower rate of rupture.

What percentage of mastectomy patients get reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction is commonly offered to women receiving mastectomy, and women are increasingly choosing to undergo breast reconstruction. As of 2016, more than 40 percent of women in the U.S. who underwent mastectomy had reconstruction.

Why can’t you keep your nipples after a mastectomy?

A: Yes, the procedure is generally safe, with the usual risks of having surgery. The specific risks of having nipple-sparing mastectomy include the fact that because we remove all of the tissue behind the nipple — in what we call the nipple core — there can be an interruption of the blood supply to it.

What does a mastectomy scar look like?

Despite the different approaches, most mastectomy scars heal in a horizontal line across the chest, a diagonal line, or sometimes in a half moon shape. Often, the incision type and resulting scar depend upon the original location of the breast cancer lesion.

Do you ever get feeling back after a mastectomy?

“For many women — especially young women or women undergoing prophylactic mastectomies — restoring sensation after mastectomy is life-changing.” However, she says regaining sensation is gradual, because nerves grow a millimeter a day.

How long do you have to take off work for a mastectomy?

Returning to work

It’s not uncommon to take several weeks off from work while recovering from surgery — both physically and emotionally. The amount of time taken varies from person to person, but usually this ranges between 4 and 8 weeks. When you return to work can also depend on the type of work you do.

How do you shower with drains after a mastectomy?

You may shower with your drain. It’s important to hold the tubing of the drain in place while you’re in the shower so it’s not pulling against your skin. You can do this by wearing a cloth belt around your waist and securing the drain to the belt with a safety pin while you’re in the shower.

What do I need at home after a mastectomy?

Most Important Items to Have Post-Mastectomy
  1. Drain lanyard for shower – Once surgery is completed, you will most likely have drains that are coming out of your body and being held in place with stitches.
  2. Mastectomy pillow – THIS WAS MY FAVORITE ITEM!
  3. Shower seat – I had no idea how weak I would be after surgery.

How many days do you stay in the hospital after a mastectomy?

After surgery

Mastectomies are very safe procedures, with minimal complications. Most people make a good recovery and only need to stay in hospital for one night. However, some people will need to spend a few days in hospital. Generally, it takes 3 to 6 weeks to fully recover.

Do you need chemo after a mastectomy?

After you have surgery to remove the breast cancer, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy to destroy any undetected cancer cells and reduce your risk of the cancer recurring.

How do you wash your hair after a mastectomy?

Wash your hair with your usual shampoo and conditioner. Rinse your head well. Wash your face and genital (groin) area with your usual soap. Rinse your body well with warm water.

How do you mentally prepare for a mastectomy?

Five ways to prepare for a mastectomy—emotionally and physically
  1. You’re not your breasts (or your hair!).
  2. It’s OK to grieve.
  3. Consider your options after mastectomy.
  4. Discuss your concerns about the procedure with your care team.
  5. Recovery just takes time.