What happens in a breast reconstruction surgery?

Depends. Breast reconstruction performed with a tissue expander results in a device placed beneath the skin and muscle which gradually is filled with saline after your surgery. Each fill results in the skin stretching more and more to accommodate a permanent implant which would be placed at a second surgery. A nipple would be reconstructed at a third procedure.
Breast Cancer. I prefer that women have immediate breast reconstruction provided that it is safe from a cancer perspective. I have provided all of the options to my patients including fat grafting with later use of brava, single and two stage implant reconstruction, all types of flap reconstruction, and combinations of these techniques. Then in some instances I help the breast surgeon with the mastectomies.
Depends. Breast reconstruction could involve several different options or steps depending on what is recommended for you. You should consult with a plastic surgeon prior to any major breast surgery to go over your options and discuss what is involved. Most women choose to have their reconstruction immediately. However, some don't choose any at all or choose to wait a year or more. It's really up to you.
Depends. If you choose to have reconstruction with your own tissues, you still have 3 surgeries to complete the reconstruction, but avoid implant complications/exchanges that are necessary 10-15 years down the road. The initial surgery is longer, but the problems that come with implants long term are avoided.
Create "new" breasts. The goal of reconstruction following mastectomy is to create the illusion of still having breasts. In general, there are two techniques: transferring tissue from one part of the body to the chest wall ("flaps"), or slowly stretching the skin until it can accomodate a permanent implant. Even with excellent cosmetic results, there will be very little sensitivity over the skin in this area.

Related Questions

My mom is having a breast reconstruction surgery, should I be worried?

Breast Recon is safe. Breast reconstruction is usually a safe procedure. Every surgery has a risk of complication. The risk of a life threatening complication is less than 1%. Her surgery should be done in a certified operating room with a abps certified plastic surgeon.
No. She should have it performed by a board certified plastic surgeon in an accredited facility or hospital. Complications occur with any operation, but breast reconstruction is not a particularly risky procedure.
Common surgery. Breast reconstruction surgery is a common surgical practice to help restore and recreate a woman's breasts following a mastectomy for breast cancer. Surgical techniques may use implants or a patient's own tissue to recreate the breast. I think you should talk to your mother about your concerns and, if she lets you, you could talk to her plastic surgeon as well.
Not too much. All surgeries come with risk involved, so shouldn't be taken lightly. Reconstruction surgery is generally very safe and patient do well. You may want to go to a consult with your mother so you can help to get all the facts. Good luck, dr t.

How safe is the alloderm procedure? I was advised by a doctor to have alloderm when I consulted him for a breast reconstruction surgery following breast cancer. What are the possible side effects of the procedure?

Alloderm. Alloderm is a good tool during breast reconstruction. It is used to reduce risks such a capsular contracture and to better emvelope the implant. Please consult a board certified plastic surgeon.
Alloderm. Acellular cadaveric dermal matrices (adms) like alloderm have been increasingly popular with breast reconstruction. Advantages: 1) ability to salvage, in event of mastectomy flap necrosis; 2) lesser extent of capsular contracture if post=op radiation therapy is recommended; 3) improved positioning of the eventual reconstruction. Disadvantages: 1) seroma; 2) infection.
Fairly Safe. Alloderm is often used to add additional support to the inferior portion of the implant. Think of it like a hammock to hold the implant. The side effects are similar to other implant based reconstructions. Bleeding, infection, fluid collections are the most common side effects.
Alloderm. Alloderm is commonly used in breast reconstruction with tissue expanders and permanent implant. It is composed of human cadaver skin that has been treated to remove the cells that would lead your body to reject it. Overall the product has been used in thousands of patients and has been discussed widely in surgical literature.
Very few. It is a very safe procedure, it's the standard of care for breast reconstruction. There are not many side effects.
Alloderm for Breast. I have been using alloderm since the early 2000 in breast reconstruction and it has added another dimension in our ability to perform primary reconstruction or perform redo's, that wasn't available to us in the past. The side effects are limited to slightly increased chances of seroma formation and infection rarely.

Why might I need breast reconstruction surgery?

Very, very rarely. On rare occasions it is impossible to completely remove a breast cancer and close the skin. Under these circumstances, we often give chemotherapy first to shrink the cancer. If the cancer does not shrink, it may be necessary to perform a reconstruction to cover the chest wall after removing the cancer.
Restore breast shape. Usually, when someone needs reconstructive surgery for their breast, it is to help restore the natural shape and contour. Sometimes this is after a mastectomy but some people need it after lumpectomies also. Other people need reconstructive surgery for asymmetric breasts and congenital deformities (since birth).
Reconstruction need. No one ever "needs" reconstruction under normal circumstances. However the goal of reconstruction to restore and replace whatever is removed as a result of the cancer surgery. Thus studies have proved that that satisfaction and quality of life are enhanced after immediate breast reconstruction. Ultimately you have the final say regarding your own goals and wishes.
With deformation. Reconstruction is used to replace a portion or the entire breast after lumpectomy/partial mastectomy or total mastectomy. If the defect causes significant deformity of the breast, then reconstruction may be warranted. If there is complete loss of the breast, then reconstruction can attempt to recreate the breast shape and size.
Benefit almosalways.. ..Purely psychological, although a flap is sometimes done to get a difficult wound closed. Very few women who've had a mastectomy will go without an external prosthesis which is far more of a nuisance, especially over the years, than is rec. Rec breasts are maintennance- free & don't need mammograms tho we plastic surgeons enjoy the inadvertent compliment implied by other mds ordering them...
To Rebuild a Breast. Breast reconstruction is the rebuilding of a breast, usually after surgery for breast cancer (mastectomy or lumpectomy), or surgery to prevent breast cancer ("prophylactic mastectomy"). Non-cancer related reasons to need breast reconstruction include congenital breast absence (eg poland's syndrome), and to reconstruct after mastectomy performed for severe infection or tumors like phyllodes.

Are there different types of breast reconstruction surgery?

Yes. Most commonly after a mastectomy the breast is reconstructed using an implant. There are however other options such as muscle flaps using the rectus or lattismus muscles. The type of reconstruction varies depending on each patient.
Yes. Reconstructive surgery may be needed following mastectomy, lumpectomy, and sometimes for congenital defects. Tissue expanders and implants are commonly chosen, but other options exist such as free flaps, pedicled flaps, and fat grafting. Not all are appropriate for every person, so speak with a board certified plastic surgeon to help decide what the best choice is for you.
2 basic types. There are implant reconstructions (behind the chest wall muscle) and tissue reconstructions. The latter include skin and fat from other areas (i.e. The lower abdoment /tummy tuck) and usually the muscular blood supply. Fee flap options often use microvascular techniques to spare muscle. Combos of the two types can be done too. See an experienced plastic surgeon for your best indiv option.
Yes. Though there are various types of reconstructions, expanders, implants, pedicled flaps, free flaps, and combinations of these, not every reconstruction is right for every patient. The type of reconstruction depends on the patient, there confounding medical problems and what other treatment they will need. The best idea is to speak with a board certified plastic surgeon to have questions answered.
Implant & flap. Flaps less and less popular due to donor site morbidity, more time in hosp and more scar of reconstructed mound. Most female plastic surgeons would choose implants regardless of how they reconstruct thier own pts. New techniques have almost eliminated capsular contracture. Newest method= fat transfer can be done in the office but little nationwide experience.
Breast Recon truth. Studies now show that women with reconstruction favor flap types. The reconstruction under the muscle leaves the patient with a firm-ie somewhat hard breast. More like two large gum drops stuck on chest that have little or no movement. Microvascular reconstruction can leave a patient with better satisfaction and self-image, but it is more difficult to find surgeons and more involved-can have complic.
Reconstruction. If you are entertaining flap reconstruction then research the plastic surgeons in your area who focus on techniques like the diep flap, tug/tmg flap, sgap and pap flap. Type these in a search along with your city or state. Alternatively look at the asrm and asps websites.
Many. Implant reconstruction is far and away the most common choice by patient and surgeon. Not everyone is a candidate for this however and more elaborate surgeries including pedicled (still attached to the body) and many types of free flaps (microsurgically reattached after harvesting from another part of the body) are available.
There. Are numerous and far ranging choices. A good plastic surgeon can review them based on your anatomy.
Implants or Tissue. Options for breast reconstruction following mastectomy are: 1) Tissue expanders followed by implants, 2) Tissue flap reconstruction, including TRAM, DIEP flap, and other flaps, 3) Combination of flap and implant (latissimus + implant), and 4) Prosthesis -- meaning no reconstruction and wearing a prosthesis. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type. Have a discussion with your surgeon.
Yes, there are sever. Yes, there are several different types of breast reconstruction. The main point to understand when comparing these options is that every one of them has potential advantages and disadvantages. When I discuss these options with my patients, I encourage them to make a list of the “pros” and “cons” for each type of reconstruction. But I don’t think my opinion should be their only source. I encourage.

What is the recovery time after breast reconstruction surgery?

Variable. Recovery varies quite a bit depending on the method of reconstruction. In general, women who have tissue expanders in preparation for implants will be hospitalized for 1-2 days and may return to work in 2-3 weeks. In contrast, when a tissue transfer ("flap") procedure is performed, these numbers tend to double.
Variable. I perform tissue expander/implant breast reconstruction on an outpatient basis, and most women can return to work within one week. Transferring tissue from one part of the body to reconstruct a breast usually requires a hospital stay of 1-7 days, and the recovery at home can last for 2-3 weeks.
Varies. With expanders/implants, the hospital stay is generally less than 1 day while with flaps, this tends to be 3-5 days. Most people feel like themselves within 1-2 weeks after expanders/implants though flaps may take somewhat longer.
Depends. Upon to what you refer by "recovery" & which of many operations you've had.
2-6 weeks depending. There are many different types of breast reconstruction procedure including breast implants and various techniques that use our own tissue (flaps and fat grafting). Recovery time and time off work vary based on the complexity of the surgery (2-6 weeks). The more complex flap procedures (like the diep or gap flap) usually require 4-6 weeks off work (i recommend you plan for 6 weeks to be safe).

In what cases would a person get breast reconstruction surgery?

Post-Mastectomy. Despite many advances in breast cancer rx, some women still require mastectomy. Reconstruction is an option for most women, either immediately or delayed. Some women opt for lesser forms of (onco)plastic surgery even after lumpectomies. While these operations are performed by plastic surgeons, they are not 'cosmetic'--they are part of the cancer care and are covered by insurance.
After mastectomy. Most breast reconstructive surgery is performed after mastectomy for cancer to restore the original anatomy of the breast. This includes reconstruction at the site of the absent breast either with the skin expander or a flap as well as a symmetry operation on the non operated site to obtain a better match and pleasing aesthetic result.
Breast reconstructio. Breast reconstruction is most commonly done after mastectomy or lumpectomy and radiation for breast cancer. Breast reconstruction may also be required after trauma, burns, severe infection, and congenital disorders, such as poland's syndrome.
To Rebuild a Breast. Breast reconstruction is the rebuilding of a breast, usually after surgery for breast cancer (mastectomy or lumpectomy), or surgery to prevent breast cancer ("prophylactic mastectomy"). Non-cancer related reasons to need breast reconstruction include congenital breast absence (eg poland's syndrome), and to reconstruct after mastectomy performed for severe infection or tumors like phyllodes.
Candidate for BR. Anybody that had altered the anatomy of the breast either for congenital reasons or acquired ones, are candidates for br. These can be partial defects or total defects.

What are the criteria for breast reconstruction surgery eligibility?

Post-mastectomy. Almost every woman who requires a mast-x may be a candidate for some form of reconstruction; this is typically the choice of the patient rather than the dr. The choice of reconstruction, implants v. "flaps", may be more dependent on patient factors such as overall health, prior surgery, smoking history, ca stage, need for radiation, etc. If you need a mast-x, request a plastic surgery referral.
Varies. Most people are eligible for some form of breast reconstruction. Different things may make some forms of reconstruction a better choice than others. For example, prior radiation to the chest wall may make an implant reconstruction difficult. Being very thin may make a tram flap or other abdominal flap difficult because you don't have enough tissue. Best to discuss options with your plastic surgeon.
Many. This is an extremely difficult question to answer without evaluating your personal medical and surgical history and performing a thorough physical examination. A plastic surgeon well versed in breast reconstruction techniques is the best to seek to adequately answer this question.
Breasts. There are many factors regarding breast reconstruction by law, insurance companies are required to provide reconstruction to patients after required breast surgery. Please research your "own" situation. Studies have shown that women who have "flap" type of reconstruction are more positive about their bodies. Insurances are required to provide "reconstruction" even of an unaffected breast to symmetry.
Depends. There are a lot of different decisions that go into breast reconstruction. It is not a "one size fits all" problem and criteria are based not only on the cancer but also on the person. It is best to have a discussion with a plastic and reconstructive surgeon to determine what type of reconstruction is best for you.
Covered for cancer. Breast reconstruction surgery is a common surgical practice to help restore and recreate a woman's breasts following a mastectomy for breast cancer. Surgical techniques may use implants or a patient's own tissue to recreate the breast. Also, most women don't realize that breast reconstruction is covered by health insurance, rather than being a cosmetic operation you would have to pay for.
Breasreconstruction. Breast reconstruction can be done at the time of mastectomy or after if that is the patients choice. If a patient has heart or lung problems these have to be evaluated before hand by specialists. Other medical problems and medications are evaluated as well. There also a number of options like fat grafting, one stage implant recon and the diep flap. We have many options to offer women for recon.
Very few. For any in good general health I can creat a breast reconstruction plan using fat grafting with brava, single or two stage implant reconstruction, flaps like the diep, and any combination of these techniques. I also encourage my patients to proceed with breast reconstruction when they need radiation afterwards. Unless there is a cancer issue I don't want women to live without a reconstruction.

Can you tell me more about the surgery for breast reconstruction where?

I'll try. Two types of breast reconstruction following mastectomy. 1st is implant based and the second is using one's own tissue. One could write volumes on breast reconstruction, so you would have to be a bit more specific in your question.
Reconstruction. If you are entertaining flap reconstruction then research the plastic surgeons in your area who focus on techniques like the diep flap, tug/tmg flap, sgap and pap flap. Type these in a search along with your city or state. Alternatively look at the asrm and asps websites.

How can I make someone feel special after breast reconstruction surgery?

Life After breast ca. Encourage her to live life to the fullest. Remind her that breasts don't make her and don't make a woman. Now that she has a second chance at life she needs to forget the past live in the present and look forward to all the wonderful things ahead in her life. I.e. children, grandchildren, graduations.