San Diego Cosmetic Surgeon Dr. Tom Pousti Talks About Breast Reconstruction
Reconstruction of a breast that has been removed due to cancer or other disease is one of the most rewarding surgical procedures available today. New medical techniques and devices have made it possible for surgeons to create a breast that can come close in form and appearance to matching a natural breast. Frequently, reconstruction is possible immediately following breast removal (mastectomy), so the patient wakes up with a breast mound already in place, having been spared the experience of seeing herself with no breast at all.
Another form of breast reconstruction is taking care of patients with tuberous breasts. Tuberous breasts are a deformity existing since birth. Tuberous breasts are also known as Tuberous Breasts , snoopy deformities, and constricted breasts. This deformity is usually distinguished by deficiency of breast tissue and skin, rupture of breast tissue around the areola and constriction of the breast base. This deformity is generally classified into three categories; minor constriction, consisting of noticeable differences in the size and shape of the breasts; moderate constriction, consisting of a more significant lack of breast tissue as well as differences in size and shape of breast; and severe constriction, consisting of major deficiency of breast tissue and severe abnormalities of the shape and size of the breast. Although this is a challenging deformity, it is possible to improve and repair through procedures such as breast augmentation, mastopexy and tissue expansion. Dr. Pousti does what is possible to achieve symmetry and take into account the patient’s wishes and desired outcome of the shape and size of the breast.
Another common problem that we see in our office is the need for AlloDerm Regenerative Tissue use to help cover the implant when the pectoralis muscle has been damaged and is not giving enough coverage to the area.
The Surgical Procedure
Breast reconstruction for breast cancer patients usually involves more than one operation. The first stage, whether done at the same time as the mastectomy or later on, is usually performed in a hospital.
Follow-up procedures may also be done in the hospital. Or, depending on the extent of surgery required, your surgeon may prefer an outpatient facility.
The procedure to correct tuberous breasts is usually performed in the outpatient surgery center with the same recovery time as breast augmentation.
While making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out for a few days, if needed.
What To Expect After Surgery
You are likely to feel tired and sore for a week or two after reconstruction. Most of your discomfort can be controlled by medication prescribed by your doctor.
For breast reconstruction, you will be asked to limit work and activity significantly for the first week. Take the medications as described and the office staff will contact you for follow up appointments in our office.
For reconstruction due to cancer, depending on the extent of your surgery, you’ll probably be released from the hospital in two to five days. Many reconstruction options require a surgical drain to remove excess fluids from surgical sites immediately following the operation, but these are removed within the first week or two after surgery. Most stitches are removed in a week to 10 days.
Resumption Of Physical Activities
When recovering from the correction of tuberous breasts, we ask that you take one week off of work and limit your activity for the first two weeks after the procedure. Dr. Pousti will discuss resumption of activity with each patient at their follow up appointment.
It may take you up to six weeks to recover from a combined mastectomy and reconstruction or from a flap reconstruction alone. If implants are used without flaps and reconstruction is done apart from the mastectomy, your recovery time may be less.
You’ll want to refrain from any overhead lifting, strenuous sports, and sexual activity for three to six weeks following reconstruction.