Various techniques can be used to perform breast reconstruction cosmetic surgery.
The steps involved in the surgery will differ, depending on the technique chosen and whether the surgery is undertaken in combination with a mastectomy or later.
At the time of the pre-op consultation, the surgeon will explain the steps involved in the procedure and offer the patient reassurance on what the procedure will involve.
Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jacob Bloom provides breast reconstruction to patients in Chicago, IL, and surrounding locations.
Breast reconstruction surgery is a major procedure and is usually undertaken with the patient under general anesthesia. During the procedure, the patient will not be conscious and will not feel any pain or remember the surgery upon waking up.
Before a patient is deemed fit to undergo anesthesia, the surgeon will assess her medical condition and history of drug allergies.
After the anesthetic takes effect, the surgeon will commence the breast reconstruction surgery by placing incisions in discreet and precise locations. The size and location of the incisions will depend on the surgical techniques used.
The flap technique involves more incisions as there is tissue relocation between areas. On the other hand, the implant technique warrants fewer incisions. The technique chosen and the number and size of incisions will affect the time taken to recover and the level of scarring.
Creating the New Breast
The surgeon will recreate the breast mound using either the implant or flap technique. This will be decided during the surgical planning phase.
The implant technique in breast reconstruction plastic surgery involves multiple stages. In the beginning, the surgeon will place an expander underneath the skin and chest muscle to expand the site.
Subsequently, they will add liquid to the expander over the next few weeks and months to ensure that the skin stretches adequately to hold the implant. After the skin has stretched enough, the surgeon will place saline or silicone implants in the breast area.
At times, the surgeon may undertake both these steps together. Permanent expanders may be used as implants to eliminate the necessity for the second stage of the procedure. The surgeon will chart out the appropriate treatment approach in close discussion with the patient.
In flap reconstruction, the surgeon will source excess tissue from a donor site and relocate it to the breast area. The blood vessels in the tissue that is relocated will be re-attached to new ones in the breast.
To create the breast mound, the surgeon will use the new tissue. Sometimes an implant may also be placed in cases of flap reconstruction.
Bandages and Sutures
The surgeon will create a natural and symmetrical looking breast mound and then close the incisions using sutures and dress them with bandages. They will offer the patient with instructions for suture and bandage care to reduce the chances of infection development.
On their part, the patient should avoid putting any pressure on the incision areas for six weeks following the surgery to enjoy a safe and quick recovery. If conventional sutures are used, the surgeon will remove them in nearly 7 to 10 days after the surgery.
Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Jacob Bloom receives patients from Chicago, IL, and nearby areas for breast reconstruction.