Breast Reconstruction in Louisville
Breast Reconstruction Procedure
While some plastic surgeons do not routinely perform breast reconstructions, Dr. Digenis believes that reconstruction of a breast that has been removed due to cancer or other disease is one of the most rewarding surgical procedures available both for the patient and the surgeon. New medical techniques and devices have made it possible for surgeons to create a breast that can come close in form and appearance to matching a natural breast. Frequently, reconstruction is possible immediately following breast removal (mastectomy), so the patient wakes up with a breast mound already in place. Your oncologist and your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery.
The most common technique combines skin expansion and subsequent insertion of an implant. Following mastectomy, your surgeon will insert a balloon expander beneath your skin and chest muscle. Through a tiny valve mechanism buried beneath the skin, your surgeon will periodically inject a salt-water solution to gradually fill the expander over several weeks or months. After the skin over the breast area has stretched enough, the expander may be removed in a second operation and a more permanent implant will be inserted. Some expanders are designed to be left in place as the final implant. The nipple and dark skin surrounding it, the areola, are reconstructed in a subsequent procedure. Finally, tattoo is performed to pigment the nipple and areola.
Breast Reconstruction Recovery
You may feel tired and sore for a week or two after reconstruction. Most of your discomfort can be controlled by medication. Depending on the extent of your surgery, you will probably be released from the hospital the next day. Many reconstruction options require a surgical drain to remove excess fluids from the surgical sites immediately following the operation, but these are removed within the first week or two after surgery. Most stitches are removed in a week to 10 days. 1 week off work, no strenuous activity or heavy lifting for 3 weeks may resume full activity 6 weeks post op.