Reconstruction of the breast can make a significant contribution to self-esteem and emotional well-being after mastectomy. Using the safest and most effective medical techniques, Dr. Joseph DiBello is often able to create a breast that is similar in form and appearance to that of the natural breast. Dr. DiBello also specializes in reconstructive breast surgery to restore symmetry between the breasts when asymmetry results from a lumpectomy and/or radiation therapy.
- What Is Breast Reconstruction?
- Breast Reconstruction Options After Mastectomy
- Breast Reconstruction Options After Lumpectomy
- Breast Reconstruction Recovery
- Breast Reconstruction Cost
What Is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is achieved through several plastic surgery techniques that attempt to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance, and size following mastectomy or breast cancer surgery. The creation of a new breast can dramatically improve your self-image, self-confidence, and quality of life. A consultation with Dr. DiBello to discuss all of the personal aspects of breast reconstruction will help you determine if you are a candidate for reconstructive breast surgery. Usually the reconstructive process involves collaboration and coordination with your breast surgeon, Dr. DiBello, and sometimes the oncologist. Dr. DiBello and his staff here at DiBello Plastic Surgery are sensitive to the unique needs of the reconstructive patient.
What Are My Breast Reconstruction Options After Mastectomy?
Dr. DiBello offers a wide range of advanced surgical techniques that can effectively reconstruct women’s breasts with natural-looking results. Whether the reconstruction will be performed using an implant or using your own tissue, or a combination of the two, is something that will be discussed during Dr. DiBello’s comprehensive consultation with you. If only one breast is affected, it alone may be reconstructed.
Implant reconstruction typically begins with the placement of a tissue expander. The tissue expander is gradually filled over a series of appointments to stretch the remaining skin and muscle, creating space to accommodate the final breast implant. Once the expansion is complete, the implant can be placed in the breast pocket to achieve the desired shape and size. In some cases, Dr. DiBello may also recommend simultaneous fat transfers to further perfect shape and symmetry, as well as soften the feel and appearance of the reconstructed breast.
Tissue reconstruction techniques use the patient’s own skin, muscle (from either the abdomen or back), and fat to create a new breast. Dr. DiBello is experienced in a variety of advanced tissue reconstruction approaches and can devise a personalized plan that is suited to your needs, tissue quality/availability, and ultimate aesthetic goals. Tissue expanders are also commonly used in combination with this type of reconstruction to enhance shape and create room for a breast implant and/or transferred fat. In certain instances, tissue reconstruction and fat transfers may be all that’s needed to achieve the desired breast shape and size. Fat transfers are completed by harvesting fat from other areas of the body using liposuction techniques. The collected fat is purified and strategically injected into the breast to create soft, natural-looking volume and a carefully sculpted shape.
In addition, a breast lift, breast reduction, or breast augmentation may be recommended for the opposite breast to improve symmetry of the size and position of both breasts. Nipple reconstruction can also be performed at a later time if a nipple-sparing mastectomy was not performed.
What Are My Breast Reconstruction Options After Lumpectomy?
Women who undergo breast conservation surgery for the treatment of their breast cancer typically undergo a lumpectomy, with or without radiation therapy. In some women this treatment may result in a contour irregularity, or indentation, at the site of treatment leaving a noticeable deformity. Additionally, the removal of tissue may result in a loss of volume that causes an asymmetry in the size or shape of the breasts. Reconstructive options may consist of liposuction-harvested fat transfer (grafting) to improve the appearance of the lumpectomy site and restore volume, and/or a mastopexy (breast lift) to improve the shape. Symmetry procedures of the unaffected, or opposite breast, may consist of a breast lift, or a breast reduction for women with larger breasts.
What Is Recovery Like After Breast Reconstruction?
Your recovery after breast reconstruction depends largely on the specific details of your procedure. Often, reconstruction is completed in stages and you’ll find that the different phases of healing will require unique aftercare and result in varying physical effects. Typically, most patients will experience some degree of discomfort, which can be controlled with prescription medication and alternative pain management techniques. The more invasive the procedure, the longer the recovery typically takes. Dr. DiBello can discuss the recovery from your specific procedure in detail prior to your surgery so that you know what to expect. As you heal, Dr. DiBello will closely follow your progress and let you know when it’s safe to resume certain activities such as showering, light activity, returning to work, and exercise. Most importantly, it’s critical to remain patient with your healing, attend all follow-up appointments, get plenty of rest, nourish your body, and follow your post-operative care instructions.
How Much Does Breast Reconstruction Cost?
Pricing can vary significantly based on the details of your specific surgical plan, so it’s important to schedule a consultation with Dr. DiBello to get an exact estimate. Fortunately, breast reconstruction procedures are often covered by many health insurance providers after breast cancer surgery. Legislation has been passed by Congress to enact mandatory coverage whether the reconstruction is performed at the time of the mastectomy (immediate) or after the mastectomy site has healed (delayed). Breast reconstruction after lumpectomy, as well as surgery on the opposite breast for symmetry, are also typically covered by insurance. Our knowledgeable office team is happy to answer any questions you may have about costs, insurance coverage, payment methods, and procedure scheduling.
For more information about breast reconstruction or to schedule a consultation with Dr. DiBello, please contact our office.
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