Breast Reconstruction Q & A
Breast reconstruction is offered to women who have lost their breast due to cancer or other disease. Reconstruction of a breast that is partially or completely removed is possible through a combination of plastic surgery procedures that will create a new breast. The results of breast reconstruction can be natural in appearance and feel; however they will never look exactly the same as the breast that was removed.
Q: What are the breast reconstruction options that are available?
A: Breast reconstruction is achieved through several plastic surgery techniques that attempt to restore a breast to as near normal shape, size and appearance. Breast reconstruction is a highly individualized procedure. The following options may include:
• Flap techniques that reposition a woman’s own muscle, fat and skin to create or cover the breast mound
• Tissue expansion that stretches healthy skin to provide coverage for a breast implant
• The surgical placement of the breast implant to create the breast mound
• Grafting and other techniques to create a nipple and areola
Q: How long does the procedure take?
A: Every situation and stage of reconstruction is unique, but generally surgery is about 1.5 –3.0 hours long depending on individual circumstances and how extensive the procedure is.
Q: Will it be performed under local or general anesthesia?
A: General anesthesia. Some procedures may require an overnight stay in a hospital setting. Some of the follow-up procedure such as areola tattooing can be performed under a local anesthesia
Q: How long will I be out of work?
A: Patients may return to work in 2 weeks depending on their job duties.
Q: What should I expect after my procedure?
A: Every situation is unique and recovery depends on which technique is performed as well as the circumstances that surround each patient. Your physician and their staff will help you prepare for what to expect after the procedure.
Q: Do I need special testing prior to my procedure?
A: Testing is dependent on the patient’s health history and age. Testing is ordered for every patient.
Q: Will this be covered by insurance?
A: Through advocacy of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and breast cancer support groups, insurance companies are now required by law to provide coverage for breast reconstruction and related procedures to adjust the opposite breast. Pre-certification may be required by your insurance company.
Q: What are my physical limitations after my procedure?
A: This is dependent on what procedure you chose and what stage breast reconstruction. Your physicians will give you full instruction on limitations.
Q: Where will I be having my surgery?
A: Patients have the option of having surgery at select local hospitals.