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Breast Reconstruction

An Overview

Breast Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction is a special procedure meant for breast cancer patients who have undergone a mastectomy or a lumpectomy. This surgery attempts to restore breasts to near normal size, shape and proportion. Usually this is performed on one breast, so other procedures may be suggested to promote symmetry.

Many women, after suffering from breast cancer, want to return to their normal lives. While breast reconstruction is only a cosmetic solution, it can help build confidence in women who want to get back to their original figure.

Surgery options can vary, but often surgeons will perform reconstruction using a flap technique. Sometimes there isn’t enough tissue on the chest wall after a mastectomy to cover and support a breast implant, so muscle and fat need to be taken from other areas of the body. After creating a new breast mound of pocket for the implant, grafting is used to reconstruct the nipple and areola.

Good candidates for breast reconstruction will have realistic expectation about their results. Nothing will be able to replace their original breast after cancer operations, and reconstruction is just one way to achieve the aesthetics they want.

Average Cost of Breast Reconstruction: $7,000

How Long Does Breast Reconstruction Take?
Breast reconstruction can last anywhere from 2 to 6 hours depending on the technique used, and how much extra muscle and fat needs to be transferred to reconstruct the breast.

Average Recovery Time
You may have to stay in the hospital up to 5 days after surgery, but generally it is just a precaution. Overall recovery can take 6 weeks. Any strenuous activity should be avoided until after 6 weeks.

Possible Risks and Side Effects
Each person may experience different side effects such as temporary swelling, scarring and changes in breast sensation. There could be mild bleeding and a possibility for infection.

Other Names for Breast Reconstruction
Skin expansion or flap reconstruction, depending on the technique used.

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