Breast reconstruction is a surgery used to restore breast shape and volume after a mastectomy. There are different surgical methods surgeons employ to reconstruct the breasts, and one of them is known as flap reconstruction.
What Is Flap Reconstruction Surgery?
Flap reconstruction involves using tissue from another part of a person’s body to form a new breast structure. The tissue is harvested from other body parts such as your abdomen, thighs, or buttocks. They can help to create a new breast shape that looks more natural than they might with breast reconstruction using implants.
This technique can be done immediately after a mastectomy or at a later date. Your surgeon can best determine the timing based on your state of health and general needs.
A flap reconstruction is ideal for those who had large breasts prior to mastectomy surgery. It is also a good choice for those who wish for their reconstructed breasts to be as close to their natural shape as possible. If chest muscle tissue was removed during mastectomy or a scar from the cancer surgery remains in the area, a breast reconstruction using a flap method may be the best option.
Types of Flap Reconstruction Surgeries
Flap reconstruction surgeries are categorized into different types based on the source of the tissue flap.
• LD flap reconstruction is done using tissues from the back.
• DIEP flap reconstruction refers to using fat and skin from the abdominal area.
• SIEA flap reconstruction is a lot like DIEP reconstruction but does not affect the abdominal muscles in any way.
Other options may also be available depending on the nature of the case.
What to Expect Before and After the Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Preparaing for a breast reconstruction surgery begins before the mastectomy. During a consultation, your plastic surgeon will inform you about the types of procedures and the different options available for you.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Once the tissue flaps have been transferred and positioned correctly, your doctor will close the incisions and bandage the treatment area. You may be required to stay in the hospital for a few days until your chest area and newly-constructed breasts are completely healed.
After the treatment is completed, your doctor will provide you with post-surgical instructions that you can use to help facilitate a speedy recovery. You may also be taught to do some exercises to prevent muscle stiffness. Any swelling you experience will subside after a few weeks.
For any discomfort after the surgery, your doctor will prescribe you medication to help it become more manageable. You may also need to take antibiotics to prevent infections. Recovery time can range from three to six weeks depending on the extent of the surgery and your general state of health. After a few weeks, you will be able to resume your normal routine.
A breast reconstruction surgery is a complex procedure. It is an extremely effective way to reconstruct the breasts after undergoing a mastectomy. The change in appearance it provides can also boost confidence in women who have had to lose one or both breasts from cancer.
When performed by a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon, a flap reconstruction surgery can be the right solution for women who want to have natural breasts after a mastectomy.
Contact Our Office
As a highly respected double-board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Leo Keegan can help reconstruct your breasts after a mastectomy with outstanding results. Contact our office to learn more about the procedure in a safe and comfortable environment.