Information on Breast Reconstruction - Mastectomy
Breast reconstruction info including nipple and areola reconstruction. Information on tram flap reconstruction, techniques, tissue expanders, breast implants, recovery and more.
Breast reconstruction is the rebuilding of a breast that has been removed due to cancer or other diseases. This procedure involves the use of implants or relocated flaps of the patients own tissue to create a natural looking breast and reformation of a natural looking areola and nipple. The reconstruction of the breast is possible immediately following breast removal except in individuals with medical problems like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and also in individuals who smoke. The surgery is delayed as they are considered high risk candidates. Breast reconstruction usually takes multiple operations, which are spread out over weeks or months.
There are many methods of breast reconstruction. The two most common are:
1.Tissue expander-breast implants: this is the most common technique used world wide. The surgeon inserts a tissue expander, a temporary silastic implant, beneath the pectoralis major muscle of the chest wall and over weeks or months, inject a saline solution to slowly expand the over laying tissue. Once the expander has reached an acceptable size it may be removed and replaced with a more permanent implant. Reconstruction of the areola and nipple are performed in a separate operation after the skin has stretched to its final size.
2.Flap reconstruction: this is the second most common procedure where tissue is used from other parts of patient's body, such as the back, buttocks, thigh or abdomen.
The latissimus dor muscle flap:
Nipple and areola reconstruction
Recovery - Post Breast Reconstruction
Recovery from implant based reconstruction is faster than with flap-based reconstruction, but both take at least three to six weeks to recover and both require follow up surgeries in order to construct a new areola and nipple. The patients should avoid active sports, over head lifting and sexual activity during recovery period. TRAM flap patients can show abdominal muscle weakness but most patients resume normal activities after recovery.
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