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What is Reconstructive Breast Surgery?

Breast reconstruction is a highly personalized surgical procedure to help restore a natural-looking, rounded bust. With implant-based reconstruction, the surgeon will typically use a tissue expander beneath the pec muscle to slowly expand the skin until it has the capability to house an implant. A saline or silicone implant is then inserted into the chest. Some women will not require the first step and can simply undergo implant surgery right away.

With autologous tissue reconstruction, your surgeon will create a flap out of donor skin, fat, and sometimes muscle. This flap will become a living, breathing breast mound that is natural in both feel and appearance. Flap material can be taken from the abdomen, thigh, back, or buttocks.

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Unilateral mastectomy or bilateral mastectomy?

If breast cancer is present only on one side, the patient will have to decide whether to undergo a unilateral mastectomy or a bilateral mastectomy. The benefit of bilateral mastectomy is that reconstruction can produce more uniform, symmetrical results. However, this is a personal decision that can be discussed with your treatment team. If unilateral mastectomy is preferred, your plastic surgeon can perform additional cosmetic procedures after reconstruction such as fat transfer or mastopexy to ensure your chest looks balanced and natural.

What is implant-based reconstruction?

Implant-based reconstruction uses silicone or saline implants to fill out the chest and create an authentic-looking bosom. The surgery can be done in one or two stages, according to how much skin is available to house the implants. 

During two-stage implant reconstruction, your surgeon will use a tissue expander to achieve your desired breast volume before inserting the actual breast implant. The two-stage approach has a few key advantages over the one-stage or direct-to-implant method, including safety and cosmetic appearance. The plastic surgeon will place the tissue expander at the time of the mastectomy and then perform the breast implant exchange about three months afterward.

What is autologous breast reconstruction?

Autologous breast reconstruction uses material from the patient’s own body to create realistic-looking breast mounds. While the most common donor site is the belly due to its abundance of soft skin, breast flaps can also be molded from skin and tissue taken from the back, hips, glutes, and thighs. Microsurgery may be needed to help preserve the musculature. While this approach is more time-consuming and requires a lengthier recovery period, it presents an excellent option when the patient is not a good candidate for implant reconstruction.

What is Nipple Reconstruction?

Nipple reconstruction is the final phase of breast reconstruction. It is typically performed 6-12 weeks after the implants have been placed. The plastic surgeon will use portions of the mastectomy scar to reform the nipple. Weeks later, an areola tattoo (micropigmentation) can be placed to mark the end of the reconstruction process.

What Are the Benefits?

  • Restores self-confidence and self-image

  • Helps provide closure

  • Creates balance and symmetry

  • Expands wardrobe choices

  • Natural-looking results

Am I a Candidate for Breast Reconstruction in Tucson?

The best candidates for breast reconstruction have had their cancer completely removed and do not need further treatments. Knowing your breast reconstruction options before mastectomy can help ensure the entire process is harmonious and successful from start to finish. 

An ideal candidate:

  • Desires to regain her figure as it was before cancer

  • Recognizes that a reconstructed breast will never feel 100% natural

  • Is willing to follow the doctor’s directions carefully before and after reconstruction

  • Has realistic expectations and a positive attitude towards the treatment process

What Will My Recovery Entail?

Our team will provide you with a personalized and detailed aftercare plan that goes over caring for your incisions, bathing, sleeping, resuming exercise, and returning to work. Most clients can begin to work again after about 3-4 weeks. 

Drains will be placed for the first 10-14 days to help move excess fluids out of the body. Once the drains have been removed, light exercise such as walking can help improve your circulation and your mood. Rigorous exercise can be initiated after 4-6 weeks.

Why Choose Regency in Tucson?

Regency Specialties is a collaboration between among the brightest and most innovative minds in the industry. By combining the expertise of Tucson’s top specialists, Regency is able to exceed client expectations for excellence, efficiency, and availability. Our passion for quality care across a range of dermatology and cosmetic surgery procedures has led to the creation of a patient-centric practice that functions as a home away from home for patients in Tucson and beyond.

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