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Breast Reconstructive Surgery at DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital

Breast Resconstruction Surgery

Breast reconstruction surgery is a plastic surgery procedure in which the shape of the breast is re-established. If you are considering surgery for breast cancer, the kind of surgery you have will affect how you look and feel.  It is often hard to decide what to do. DMC Huron Valley-Sinai physicians recommend a consultation with a plastic surgeon before deciding between mastectomy and breast-sparing surgery. The plastic surgeon can explain the different breast reconstruction methods, including possible complications. This information can help you decide which surgical treatment is right for you. 

Reconstructive breast surgery after mastectomy

Most women can undergo at least part of a breast reconstruction procedure at the same time as their mastectomy. Breast reconstruction can be done later as well. It is important to talk to your plastic surgeon prior to having the mastectomy. Close cooperation between general surgeons and plastic surgeons leads to better results and higher satisfaction levels with the cosmetic appearance of the reconstructed breasts.  

Types of breast reconstruction surgery

Breast implants

In this kind of breast reconstruction surgery, a plastic surgeon puts an implant under your skin or chest muscle to build a new breast-like shape. There are two types of breast implants approved for sale in the United States: saline-filled and silicone gel-filled. Both types have a silicone outer shell. They vary in size, shell thickness, and shape (contour).

Tissue flaps

In tissue flap surgery, a surgeon builds a new breast-like shape from muscle, fat, and skin taken from other parts of your body. This new breast-like shape should last the rest of your life.  However, tissue flap is major surgery and not all women are good candidates. Healing often takes longer after this type of breast reconstruction surgery than if you have breast implants.    

Side effects of breast reconstruction

The side effects of breast reconstruction surgery vary for each person. Some women have many side effects or complications, others may have very few.  Breast reconstruction after mastectomy often requires additional surgeries and several months recovery time. Studies have reported that 1 in 4 patients whose breasts were reconstructed with implants have at least one additional surgery within 3 years. With tissue flap surgery, healing can take many months. During the healing process you may experience pain and discomfort from the surgery location and the location where the tissue was taken from. There are other potential complications as well.

Women who have had a mastectomy with reconstruction — either with implants or her own tissue — will not have much (or perhaps any) sensation in their breasts, because the nerves to the breast skin have been cut.Your doctors and the team of support specialists at the Charach Cancer Center will help you manage your side effects and recovery with appropriate medication, therapy and other strategies. 

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