The decision to undergo breast reconstruction after a mastectomy is a very personal one. Some women never pursue reconstructive surgery, and that is perfectly fine. However, many women find that breast reconstruction helps restore a sense of wholeness and femininity.
We know that this can be an overwhelming time. Our board-certified reconstructive surgeons Dr. Jeremy Williams and Dr. Christopher Williams will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each option in detail to help you make an informed decision. If you are considering breast reconstruction, then implant reconstruction is an option. Here is what you can expect from the stages of implant reconstruction.
Timing Your Implant-Based Reconstruction
Direct-to-Implant Breast Reconstruction
Women who want to have their reconstruction procedure completed as soon as possible may choose to pursue direct-to-implant, also known as single-stage, breast reconstruction. With this method, a general surgeon will perform your mastectomy and then our reconstructive surgeon will immediately place implants to create your new breast mound.
However, not every woman is a candidate for single-stage breast reconstruction. Our surgeons will discuss the factors that affect your candidacy for this method, including your breast size and cancer specifics. This process can often be performed with a nipple-sparing mastectomy. If you receive a nipple-sparing mastectomy, you will not need nipple reconstruction or an areola pigmentation procedure.
Starting the Reconstruction Process on the Day of Your Mastectomy
Your implant reconstruction can begin on the day of your mastectomy and be completed at a later date. This is referred to as staged breast reconstruction. If you are still receiving radiation or chemotherapy, this method can help preserve the shape of your breast during your cancer treatment. After your general surgeon performs your mastectomy, our reconstructive surgeon will place a tissue expander.
Women who have an expander placed at the time of their mastectomy will need to return for several follow up visits to have the expander filled. This helps manage the size of the pocket that is created for the implant. The tissue expander will be removed during your breast reconstruction surgery and implants will be placed in the pockets that were created.
Implant Reconstruction After a Mastectomy
Some women wait to have implant reconstruction until well after their mastectomy. This is called delayed breast reconstruction. Women who want more time to evaluate their reconstruction options or women who are still receiving cancer treatment might consider choosing delayed breast reconstruction.
Tissue expanders are often used to create the necessary pocket for the breast implant. It will take time to adjust the expanders to the proper size. When an adequate pocket is created, our reconstructive surgeons will remove the expanders and place the breast implants.
You may need to return for a follow-up visit after your surgery to monitor the progress of your recovery. If a drainage tube was placed during your surgery, you will need to return approximately one week later to have it removed.
Additionally, our surgeons may recommend that you receive additional procedures to achieve the most natural-looking results possible. These procedures are typically performed several months after your main reconstructive surgery, to allow time for you to heal and for your breasts to achieve a new baseline appearance. If you did not have a nipple-sparing mastectomy, you may consider nipple reconstruction at this time. Some women can achieve the most aesthetically pleasing results through additional enhancements such as scar revision and fat grafting.
When your breasts have fully healed from breast reconstruction surgery and any enhancements, you will have completed your implant reconstruction journey. For many women, the results of this surgery provide both emotional and physical benefits.
Schedule Your Consultation with our Denver Reconstructive Surgeons
At The Breast Center Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery, we feel privileged to help women through every stage of their reconstruction journey. Please schedule a consultation at 720-457-4461 to learn more about your options for implant-based breast reconstruction. We proudly serve Denver, Lone Tree, and nearby areas of Colorado.