Breast Reconstruction | Pittsburgh, PA
The American Cancer Society believes breast cancer to be one of the most common cancers in American women. Statistics show one in seven women will develop breast cancer and many of these women will be between the ages of 35-50 and may not have a family history. Increased awareness, cancer screenings and new treatment options help in the fight against this disease. Many women who have been diagnosed with or have a history of breast cancer should be provided with information regarding their available options when considering the reconstruction of their breasts. Regardless of any outside opinions, the decision to undergo a breast reconstruction is a very personal one. Although breast reconstruction is not the choice for everyone, Dr. Antimarino believes each woman needs to have an opportunity to explore her options. Additionally, studies have proven many women who have chosen breast reconstruction experience a significant improvement in their emotional well-being and body image.
Timing of Reconstruction:
- Immediate: The reconstruction starts at the time of the mastectomy. This leads to the best aesthetic and emotional outcomes
- Delayed: The reconstruction occurs at a time after the mastectomy has healed, usually years later.
How do I prepare for surgery?
In your initial consultation with Dr. Antimarino, make sure to discuss your expectations for the procedure. This is the time to discuss your concerns and your goals as he will design a surgical plan specifically for you.
You may want to come in with a list of questions that you want answered before the procedure. This will eliminate any confusion and will provide you with the most comfortable experience at Bellissimo Plastic Surgery & Medi Spa.
The use of Aspirin, Ibuprofen, or other supplements that may increase bruising should be stopped two weeks prior to surgery.
Lastly, you will also want to read through our patient resources, such as our note of privacy policies and surgeon checklist, to better educate yourself about the entire surgical process.
Surgery: There are three surgical options used in breast reconstruction:
- Direct: This is the newest technique but not all women are eligible. This reconstruction is performed in one stage as the silicone gel implant is placed at the time of the mastectomy. A secondary touch up surgery may be necessary.
- Tissue Expander: This is the most common technique used today. A tissue expander can be used in the immediate and possibly the delayed style of reconstruction. An expander helps to increase the amount of skin on the chest after a mastectomy. A second stage or surgery is required to remove the expander and replace it with a silicone gel implant. During this second surgery, a procedure is usually performed on the non-affected breast to increase symmetry between the two breasts.
- Flaps: This type of reconstruction uses a woman’s own tissue to create a breast. Most common donor sites are the patient’s abdomen, back, and thighs.
Most reconstruction techniques take two to three stages to reach completion.
AFTER SURGERY: Recovery varies depending upon the type of reconstruction used. The recovery period is generally shorter when using an implant versus using a flap procedure. Although it is tempting to return to a normal routine right away, it is necessary to take advantage of required downtime for proper recovery. Many women are back to work within two weeks and may resume most lifestyle activities in that same time frame with implant surgery. Flap surgery requires a longer healing time, most patients need 3-4 days in a hospital setting after their initial surgery. Patients are generally back to light activity in approximately one month.
Many women, when facing breast cancer, feel overwhelmed by all the information and treatment options given to them by the Oncologist, Breast General Surgeon, and Plastic Surgeon. For this reason, Dr. Antimarino has always felt a strong connection with patients dealing with breast cancer and understands the emotional journey both the family and patient face. He strongly believes in educating the patient to make informed decisions involving their treatment plan and helping each patient select the best surgical option available.
For a more detailed discussion and to answer all your surgical questions, schedule a consultation with Dr. Antimarino.