From Expanders to Implants: Breast Reconstruction Explained
In most cases, breast reconstruction is the next step after or during a mastectomy or lumpectomy. With over 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, many if not most have had delayed or immediate reconstruction to restore their breasts. Women with a breast cancer diagnosis have several decisions to make about their treatment plan and what next steps are going to happen to fight this disease. Breast reconstruction is often part of the process and can be a helpful step in restoring their well-being and self-confidence.
The board-certified plastic surgeons Drs. James Romanelli and John Layliev of Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery in Huntington, NY, are leading experts in the greater Long Island area with breast reconstruction procedures. They can help women navigate through this emotional process and give them the results they need. Here is some helpful information if you are ready to consider breast reconstruction surgery and what you can expect.
The basics of breast reconstruction
Many women want to restore their breasts to look as similar to what they did before their breast cancer diagnosis. In some instances, some Long Island women want to look even better before their mastectomy, so they choose implants as part of their restoration journey. The breast reconstruction process can be immediate or delayed depending on what each woman needs. The board-certified plastic surgeons at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery will work closely with each patient as well as her cancer team on this individualized surgery to develop the best strategy.
Breast reconstruction offers many benefits to women but having realistic expectations is helpful. It is an excellent way to restore your profile and improve the symmetry between your breasts if your mastectomy involved only one breast. It allows women to wear their bra or bathing suit without the need for an external prosthesis and also benefits women psychologically. Breast reconstruction can partially erase the reminders of their cancer diagnosis and restore a woman’s femininity to boost their self-esteem.
Preparing for breast reconstruction
Breast reconstruction has many factors to it. There is a surgical team for the mastectomy and then plastic surgeons for the reconstruction portion. Consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon from the beginning allows for your breast surgeon and plastic surgeon to work together from the start to develop the best surgical plan for your situation. New Jersey plastic surgeons Dr. Romanelli and Dr. Layliev at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery can discuss any advantages or disadvantages with your procedure choices and show you before and after photos of women with different types of reconstruction results. Your health status, diagnosis, cancer treatment program, and body type are all factors in providing you the best results for your reconstruction.
Choosing breast implants for your breast reconstruction surgery
When women have to consider breast reconstruction, their aesthetic goals are usually at the forefront as part of their cancer treatment process. Some women want to look different after their breast reconstruction surgery while others want to look the same prior to their diagnosis. Women who want to look aesthetically different often choose implants to reach that goal. Breast implants are still the most popular and preferable choice for most women in the Long Island area when it comes to reconstruction procedures.
Breast reconstruction breakdown with implants
Breast construction with implants is usually a two-part process which first involves the use of expanders. In order for a plastic surgeon to recreate the breast, Long Island patients must have enough tissue to fully cover the breast mound.
The plastic surgeon creates a pouch or cavity under the chest muscle. A small tissue expander placed inside allows for the insertion of a balloon-like device made of silicone. A small valve placed under the skin will aid in the expanding process to begin 2-3 weeks post-op. The chest will be flat after surgery, but in subsequent appointments, a saline solution injected into the value will start the expanding process. The expander is slowly enlarged every 1-2 weeks to prepare the chest skin for an implant. When the expander is at the right size, in about 1-3 months, then patients can receive their breast implants.
In this stage, the removal of the expanders happens through existing incisions, and the breast augmentation process begins. Before the 1st stage, implant size and type are predetermined with your plastic surgeon. Silicone is still the most popular option, but working with surgical experts like the board-certified plastic surgeons of Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery will help determine the right implant that fits your needs with breast reconstruction.
The plastic surgeons at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery in Huntington, NY, know the physical and emotional impact breast reconstruction surgery can involve. Their caring, professional staff, along with their medical knowledge in all aspects of breast procedures, will provide the best options and solutions to ease your mind through this challenging journey. If you are considering breast reconstruction surgery, please call Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery to schedule a consultation with Dr. Romanelli or Dr. Layliev. They will work closely with you and your medical team to give you the best possible outcome for breasts that look and feel more normal once again.