Improve Your Confidence Following a Mastectomy
Board-certified and fellowship-trained cosmetic surgeon John F. Zavell considers breast reconstruction to be one of the most rewarding procedures that a surgeon can perform. For women who undergo mastectomy for breast cancer treatment, the surgery gives them the opportunity to restore physical and emotional wholeness to their lives without using a prosthetic. Dr. Zavell and his team understand that a breast cancer diagnosis can feel overwhelming. We will explain your reconstruction options in a compassionate, caring manner during a consultation at our Toledo, OH, office.
Reasons to Consider Breast Reconstruction
In more than 35 percent of breast cancer patients, a mastectomy is recommended as the most effective treatment option. However, the removal of one or both of your breasts can make you feel self-conscious or less feminine. While some patients who undergo a mastectomy choose to wear a breast prosthesis or go without treatment after their surgery, others choose breast reconstruction because the results can help restore symmetry to your figure and increase your self-confidence for good.
We know that the decision to undergo reconstruction is a very personal one, and our mission is to provide all the information and support you need to move forward.
Most impressively, breast reconstructions following mastectomies have also been associated with an improved rate of survival. Undergoing a breast reconstruction during your mastectomy also eliminates the trauma of seeing yourself without a breast and can help promote your emotional wellness, potentially contributing to your vitality.
Types of Reconstruction Surgeries
There are two types of breast reconstruction surgeries available to patients.
Reconstruction with breast implants can often be performed immediately. In some cases, however, it is completed over various stages. First, Dr. Zavell will place a tissue expander under your remaining skin or muscles. This expander will stretch the tissue to prepare it for an implant. Each week, Dr. Zavell will inject saline into the tissue expander. When it reaches your ideal size, the expander is replaced with an implant.
Using skin, fat, and in some cases, muscle from another part of your body, Dr. Zavell can transplant tissue to your chest and reconstruct the breast or breasts. This surgery is completed in one treatment lasting several hours.
If you only underwent mastectomy for one breast, you may also choose to undergo breast surgery on your other breast to achieve a more symmetrical figure. Depending on your needs, you can undergo a:
What to Expect during Treatment
Every treatment is customized to your needs to achieve the most natural-looking results. Dr. Zavell and his team will guide you through the entire process from your first consultation through your recovery.
The objective of your consultation is to determine which type of breast reconstruction surgery is best for you. Dr. Zavell will also work closely with your doctor to determine if reconstruction should happen during your mastectomy or shortly after. In general, Dr. Zavell and your doctor will take into account:
- Location of cancerous tissue
- Whether you have tissue available for flap surgery
- Your overall health
- Your long-term goals
- Your age and body type
- Whether you are willing to undergo multiple surgeries
The details and length of your surgery will depend on which type of reconstruction you choose. Some patients will need to stay in the hospital overnight following their treatment.
Recovery will vary from patient to patient but typically takes about two weeks. You can return to your normal activities after about six to eight weeks when you are cleared to do so by Dr. Zavell. With proper aftercare, you should expect any visible scarring to start fading after approximately one year.
Take the First Step Today
We know that the decision to undergo reconstruction is a very personal one, and our mission is to provide all the information and support you need to move forward. If you are ready to join the growing number of women choosing to undergo reconstruction after their mastectomy, we can help. Schedule a consultation online or call our practice at (419) 871-9765 to learn more about the procedure.