Breast cancer is a life-changing experience. We understand that the loss of one or both of your breasts is emotionally and physically draining. Our office will work with your cancer doctor in helping you to regain this special part of your body. Dr. Huddleston has extensive experience in creating new, beautiful breasts that are adapted to your specific needs.
After Your Mastectomy
You may be confused on your next steps after your mastectomy (removal of one or both breasts). We want you to be informed of your options so you can make the best choice for you.
- You can choose not to have a breast reconstruction.
- You can choose to have your breast reconstruction at the same time as your mastectomy.
- You can choose to have your breast reconstruction at a later date (delayed reconstruction). This can be years after your original mastectomy.
- Breast reconstruction may be covered by your insurance.
- If you are having chemo or radiation treatments, you may have to wait until you are finished to get your reconstruction.
- Breast reconstruction DOES NOT affect the detection of cancer in future screenings.
- You can also have a nipple and areola reconstruction and tattoo to have an even more natural look.
Types of Breast Reconstruction
When you have a mastectomy, the skin is removed along with the breast tissue so there is often not enough skin left over to form a new breast. With this, your surgeon has two options, an autologous reconstruction or an implant-based reconstruction. An implant-based reconstruction is similar to a breast augmentation. A silicone implant will be inserted and the skin on the chest will be stretched to cover it.
The second option, autologous reconstruction, takes tissue from other areas of your body, usually your back or abdomen, to recreate a breast mound. When you use tissue from your abdomen, it is called a TRAM flap reconstruction and if the tissue is removed from the back, it is referred to as a LD flap reconstruction.
What Happens After Breast Reconstruction?
Your surgery itself could take up to 6 hours and the recovery period usually lasts between 6-8 weeks before you can return to normal activity. You may have a shorter recovery time if you choose implants over your own tissue. Either way, you will want to make sure you have your surgeon’s approval before doing any strenuous activities. You may spend between 1 to 10 days (or longer) in the hospital depending on the type of procedure you have and whether or not you are healing properly without complications.
The shape of your breast will gradually begin to improve after the swelling goes down, but it could take several months to see your actual results. Even after your breasts have completely healed, you may not regain complete sensation in your breasts or nipples and you may only feel a numbness or tightness where the breasts have been reconstructed. After your surgery is complete, our staff tattoo artist can complete the reconstruction, giving you a natural looking breast and nipple. In the end, you will once again feel whole and beautiful.
CLICK HERE to see our gallery and check out before and after photos of breast reconstruction
If you have had a mastectomy in the past or are getting ready to have one, contact our office to discuss options for breast reconstruction and allow us to guide you through the process to restoration.