Surgery is an effective tool against breast cancer. However, lumpectomy and mastectomy procedures can considerably change the look of a woman’s breasts. Some women find that they are dissatisfied with their new breast appearance, and feel less feminine, sensual, or confident after breast cancer surgery.
If you are in this situation, reconstructive surgery may be the ideal solution. Dr. Joseph Khouri is skilled in breast reconstruction. He can rebuild your breast shape and help you feel whole again.
Schedule a consultation today at 440-446-8600 to discuss your options. Dr. Khouri serves Cleveland and the surrounding areas of Ohio.
What is Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
Breast reconstruction helps restore the shape and appearance of one or both breasts following mastectomy or lumpectomy. There are several different reconstruction techniques and procedures available today. Implant reconstruction is the most common approach.
Implant reconstruction involves placing a breast implant above or below the chest muscles. This creates a new breast mound or fills in a large lumpectomy defect. Breast implants come in a variety of sizes and styles to meet diverse needs.
Benefits of Breast Reconstruction
Here are a few reasons to consider breast reconstruction:
- It will restore your breast contour.
- It will make your breasts more symmetrical.
- It will eliminate the need for an external prothesis.
- It may help you feel more confident in clothing or bathing suits.
- It may improve your body image and self-esteem.
- It may help you heal emotionally after breast cancer and provide closure.
Breast reconstruction provides many advantages. However, it is important to realize that it will not make your breasts look or feel exactly as they did before. Approaching the procedure with realistic expectations will help you feel more satisfied with your results.
Candidates for Breast Reconstruction
Most women who have had surgical breast cancer treatment are eligible for reconstruction. However, many individualized factors, including the nature of your cancer treatment, can affect your candidacy. It is important to meet with Dr. Khouri to discuss your specific situation.
You may be a candidate if you are looking to restore a more natural looking breast appearance after:
- Unilateral mastectomy
- Bilateral mastectomy
- Prophylactic mastectomy
Keep in mind that this surgery is not right for everyone. Some women decide not to have reconstruction and are very satisfied with that choice. It is important to think about what you want and what makes sense for your situation.
Is Breast Reconstruction a Major Surgery?
Breast reconstruction is a major procedure. In general, it takes several hours to complete and requires a postoperative hospital stay. Most women remain in the hospital for at least one night following breast reconstruction.
Like all major surgeries, breast reconstruction carries the possibility of complications. These complications include poor healing of incisions or changes in breast sensation. Dr. Khouri will discuss all associated risks as well as the steps he takes to prioritize your safety.
The Breast Reconstruction Procedure
Breast reconstruction is not the same for everyone. It differs in terms of the number of surgeries required and the exact procedural steps, depending on an individual’s circumstances. Dr. Khouri will explain what you can expect from your unique surgical plan.
In general, reconstruction can begin at the time of mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) or it can be performed later (delayed reconstruction). With either approach, Dr. Khouri will likely start by placing a tissue expander.
A tissue expander is a device that is gradually filled with saline to expand the skin and create room for an implant. A second surgical procedure is needed to replace the expander with an implant.
Expander placement is not necessary in direct-to-implant reconstruction. Direct-to-implant reconstruction involves placing an implant immediate after mastectomy. This technique may be appropriate if sufficient breast tissue is present.
If you are having a unilateral reconstruction, Dr. Khouri may recommend a procedure such as breast augmentation for the opposite side to improve symmetry.
Recovering from Reconstructive Breast Surgery
Dr. Khouri will go over every aspect of your recovery in person and provide detailed postoperative guidelines. You will likely be discharged from the hospital with drains and dressings in place that will be removed at your follow up visit. Any discomfort that you experience after returning home can be managed with pain medication.
Returning to normal activities may take at least six weeks. Walking is encouraged immediately after surgery.