Plastic Surgeon Serving North Andover, Boston, Haverhill, MA - Nashua, Salem, Manchester, NH & Nearby Areas
A mastectomy will permanently alter the appearance of your body. This necessary procedure deserves to be applauded for the lives it has saved, but many women are left feeling incomplete after surgery. Breast reconstruction can restore symmetry to your chest, helping you reclaim your body and regain your self-confidence.
Health insurance companies that cover mastectomy are required by congressional law to cover breast reconstruction as well. Procedures to reshape the opposite breast, if needed, are also covered by health insurance. During your initial plastic surgery consultation, one of our experienced staff will discuss your health insurance coverage and breast reconstruction.
If you have had a partial mastectomy, breast reconstruction of the deformity may be possible.
Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy: Surgery Options
Board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. George P. Chatson will work with you on an individualized basis, tailoring your breast reconstruction to meet your specific needs. Dr. Chatson is experienced in various breast reconstruction techniques, including:
- Implant reconstruction – in which a breast implant is used to restore the breast. Dr. Chatson uses both silicone gel and saline breast implant reconstruction methods. In most instances, gel implants are preferred. A tissue expander may or may not be utilized prior to placement of the breast implant. In some cases, Alloderm tm grafts are used to enhance internal soft tissue coverage around the implant or expander.
- Tissue flap – in which tissue is taken from the abdomen or back to create a new breast. Possible flaps include TRAM flap or latissimus flap.
In some instances, both a tissue flap and implant may be used. This is based on your anatomical features and other physical considerations. Breast reconstruction may be performed as a single step procedure, or it may require several stages of surgical reconstruction. Details about these procedures and any questions about breast reconstruction that you may have are discussed during your initial consultation.
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What Are The Different Techniques for Breast Reconstruction?
There are two different types of techniques for breast reconstruction surgery. To find out which technique fits your needs and body the most, consult with Dr. Chatson today!
Breast Implant Reconstruction
Breast implants, usually made of silicone gel or filled with saline, are used to restore the shape of the breast if a major amount of volume has been lost. Because implants can last up to ten years before needing adjustments, this technique is popular to use for breast reconstruction.
Tissue (flap) Reconstruction
Tissue (flap) reconstruction is a technique that involves using tissue from other parts of the body, such as the thigh, stomach, back, or buttocks, to restore breast shape. This option may be the most suitable for patients who may have a sensitivity to implants. Because tissue flaps are made from the patient’s own skin, this technique often results in the most natural-looking reconstruction.
What Are the Benefits of Breast Reconstruction?
While patients may be interested in breast reconstruction for different reasons, there are universal benefits to having the procedure done, including:
- Restoring lost volume in the breast
- Permanently restoring the shape of the breast
- Allowing clothes to fit better
- Eliminating the need for an external prosthesis
- Boost in body acceptance and self-esteem
What Is Recovery Like After Breast Reconstruction?
Recovery after breast reconstruction will take time and may require patience from most patients and their loved ones. On average, patients remain tired and sore for up to two weeks after their breast reconstruction surgery, which is a normal side effect. Additionally, common side effects such as tenderness, redness, swelling, bruising, and sensitivity are all common.
If you’ve undergone tissue (flap) reconstruction, your recovery time may be longer than two weeks as your surgical wounds will need more time to heal in comparison to those who have undergone a breast implant procedure.
Most patients make a full recovery after a full eight weeks and can return to work, exercise, and their normal sleeping patterns at this time. However, it’s important to note that tightness and tenderness may still be felt up to twelve months after your procedure. This is perfectly normal, as your body simply needs time to heal itself and adjust to the feeling of a “new breast.”
What Are the Risks of Breast Reconstruction?
Just like with any surgery, there are a few risks that come with breast reconstruction. Besides common side effects such as tenderness, swelling, and redness, these risks may involve the following:
- Poor wound healing
- Anesthesia risks
- Blood clots
However, under the care of board-certified Dr. Chatson, who draws upon years of experience in plastic surgery, patients are able to manage their side effects and completely avoid these risks post-surgery. Voted New Hampshire’s Top Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Chatson provides high-quality care by prioritizing patient safety and comfort during each individualized procedure.
Things to Consider Before Breast Reconstruction
If you’re wondering whether or not a breast reconstruction is right for you, here are a few things that you should consider before beginning your surgical journey:
- Assess your physical health. Is your body healthy enough to complete a surgical recovery process?
- Consult with your doctor about stopping any medications that may interfere with your surgery.
- Consider motherhood and/or your desire to breastfeed. Because of nerve changes in the nipple due to surgery, there is a possibility mothers may not be able to produce a full milk supply. However, some mothers who have had breast reconstruction are still able to breastfeed their children with additional supplements.
Other Breast Reconstruction Considerations
The goal of breast reconstruction is to restore symmetry and balance to your chest. In order to achieve ideal breast symmetry after reconstruction, the opposite breast is often modified during one of the stages of breast reconstruction. When this is the case, Dr. Chatson will recommend a procedure such as a breast lift, breast augmentation, or breast reduction to bring complete balance and symmetry to your upper body. These considerations will be made during your initial consultation. Nipple and areola reconstruction are typically performed after the breast shape has been surgically restored. In some cases, breast cancer surgeons may be able to preserve the patient's own nipple and areola at the time of mastectomy.
Every woman is unique and each body deserves careful attention and personalized services. Dr. Chatson has over 17 years of experience helping women in Massachusetts and New Hampshire restore appearance with breast reconstruction. Tailoring your procedure to meet your needs, he can help you restore natural beauty to your chest.
Schedule a Breast Reconstruction Consult Today!
If you have undergone a mastectomy and live in Andover or Lowell, Massachusetts; Nashua, Salem, or Manchester, New Hampshire; or the surrounding areas, please contact George P. Chatson, MD, online by filling out the Consultation Request Form on this page. You can also call our office in Massachusetts at 978-687-1151 or in New Hampshire at 603-882-2103 to schedule a breast reconstruction consultation today.