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.
Types: Most reconstruction techniques take two to three stages to reach completion:
- Direct: The implant is placed at the time of the mastectomy (one stage).
- Tissue Expander: This is the most common technique used today. A tissue expander helps to increase the amount of skin on the chest after mastectomy. This technique requires a second stage or surgery to recover the expander and replace it with a silicone gel implant. At the second surgery, a procedure is usually performed on the non-affected breast to increase symmetry between the breasts.
- Flaps: This type of reconstruction uses a woman’s own tissue to create a breast. Most common donor sites are abdomen, back and thighs.
AFTER SURGERY: Recovery varies depending upon the type of reconstruction used. The recovery period is generally shorter when using an implant than it is if using a flap procedure. Although it is tempting to return to a normal routine right away, it is necessary to take advantage of down time for proper recovery. As a result, many women are back to work and most lifestyle activities within two weeks for implant surgery and four weeks for heavy lifting.
Many women, when facing breast cancer, feel overwhelmed by all of 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.
In order to answer all of your surgical questions and for detailed discussions, schedule a consultation with Dr. Antimarino.