Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Breast Reconstruction After Cancer Zodiac

It’s hard enough to imagine losing a loved one to this disease, but when it comes to ourselves? It’s just not something we can picture.

But what if you did get diagnosed with breast cancer? What if it was your turn?

In this blog post we’ll discuss about problems with breast reconstruction after mastectomy and stages of breast reconstruction after mastectomy

Breast Reconstruction After Cancer Zodiac


Mastectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of one or both breasts. In some cases, surrounding tissues such as lymph nodes may also be removed. This type of surgery is most commonly used in the treatment of breast cancer, although it may also be recommended for individuals at high risk of developing the disease.

Types of Mastectomy

There are several different types of mastectomy procedures, including:

  • Simple or total mastectomy: Removal of the entire breast, including the nipple and areola.
  • Modified radical mastectomy: Removal of the entire breast, as well as some of the lymph nodes in the armpit.
  • Radical mastectomy: Removal of the entire breast, as well as the chest muscles and lymph nodes under the arm.
  • Double mastectomy: Removal of both breasts.

Indications for Mastectomy

Mastectomy is typically recommended for the following reasons:

  • Diagnosis of breast cancer.

  • Presence of a high-risk gene mutation, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2.

  • Previous radiation therapy to the chest.

  • Recurrent breast cancer.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Following mastectomy surgery, patients may experience pain, swelling, and limited range of motion in the affected arm. Physical therapy and exercises can help improve strength and flexibility in the shoulder and arm. Emotional support and counseling may also be beneficial for coping with the physical and emotional changes associated with breast removal.

Complications and Risks

Like any surgical procedure, mastectomy carries certain risks, including:

  • Infection at the surgical site.

  • Bleeding or hematoma formation.

  • Fluid accumulation in the surgical area.

  • Nerve damage leading to numbness or tingling in the chest or arm.

Types of breast reconstruction procedures

Several types of reconstructive surgery are available, and often the process means more than one operation. You should make your decision about breast reconstruction only after you are fully informed.

The two main types of breast reconstruction are implant reconstruction and tissue (flap) reconstruction. Sometimes the implant and flap procedures are used together to rebuild a breast. 

For all types of breast reconstruction there is often an opportunity for future “touch up” procedures, such as fat grafting and scar revisions. Breast reconstruction can also recreate the nipple-areolar area that can be done with a small surgical procedure, tattooing, or a combination of both. This is done to help make the reconstructed breast look more like the original breast.

Choosing which type of breast reconstruction to have

If you’ve decided to have breast reconstruction, you’ll still have many things to think about as you and your doctors talk about what type of reconstruction might be best for you.

  • Your overall health (including issues that might affect your healing, such as smoking or certain health conditions)
  • The size and location of your breast cancer
  • Your breast size
  • The extent of your breast cancer surgery – if you are a candidate for lumpectomy or mastectomy, and the possibility to keep your nipple
  • Whether you will need cancer treatments other than surgery
  • The amount of tissue available for reconstruction (for example, very thin women may not have enough extra tummy tissue to use this area for breast reconstruction and having a “tummy tuck” in the past makes the tummy tissue not usable for breast reconstruction)
  • Whether you want reconstructive surgery on one or both breasts
  • Your desire to match the look of the other breast
  • Your insurance coverage and related costs for the unaffected breast
  • How quickly you want to be able to recover from surgery
  • Your willingness to have more than one surgery as part of the reconstruction
  • How different types of reconstructive surgery might affect other parts of your body

Talk with your surgeon openly about your preferences. Be sure to voice any concerns and priorities you have for the reconstruction and find a surgeon you feel comfortable with. Your surgeon should explain the limits, risks, and benefits of each option. 

Problems With Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy

Any type of surgery has risks. The risks of breast reconstruction include:

  • Bleeding
  • Fluid collection in the surgical area (called a seroma)
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Excessive scar tissue
  • Problems with the sleep medicines (anesthesia) used during surgery
  • Bruising and swelling
  • Problems with the breast implant
  • Problems healing

The most common complication of breast reconstruction done with implants is capsular contracture. This is when the scar (capsule) around the implant begins to tighten. In some cases, a second surgery is needed to fix this problem.

Stages Of Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy

The reshaping of the breast typically involves two stages or surgeries, with the use of a tissue expander in the first stage and an implant in the second stage. In some cases, the implant may be inserted during the first stage of the procedure. This process is commonly used in breast reconstruction surgeries following mastectomy or for cosmetic purposes.

During the first stage of breast reshaping, a tissue expander is placed beneath the chest muscle and skin. A tissue expander is an inflatable device that is gradually filled with saline solution over a period of several weeks to stretch the skin and muscle in preparation for the implant. This helps to create a pocket for the implant and allows for a more natural-looking result.

Once the desired size and shape have been achieved with the tissue expander, the second stage of the surgery involves replacing the expander with a permanent breast implant. The implant is placed in the pocket created during the first stage and may be filled with saline or silicone gel. The type of implant used will depend on the patient’s preferences and the recommendations of their surgeon.

In some cases, the implant may be inserted during the initial surgery, eliminating the need for a second procedure. This approach may be suitable for patients who do not require tissue expansion or who prefer to have the implant placed immediately.

Overall, the two-stage approach to breast reshaping allows for a more gradual and controlled process, resulting in a more natural-looking outcome. It also gives patients the opportunity to adjust the size and shape of their breasts before committing to a permanent implant.

In conclusion, the use of a tissue expander followed by a breast implant is a common and effective method for reshaping the breast. This two-stage approach allows for a more customized and natural result, whether for reconstructive or cosmetic purposes. Patients should consult with their surgeon to determine the best course of action for their individual needs and goals.


If you are having reconstruction at the same time as your mastectomy, your surgeon may do either of the following:

  • Skin-sparing mastectomy. This means a small area of skin is removed along with the nipple and areola.
  • Nipple-sparing mastectomy. This means all of the skin, the nipple, and areola are kept.

In either case, skin is left to make reconstruction easier.

If you will have breast reconstruction later, your surgeon will remove enough skin over your breast during the mastectomy to be able to close the skin flaps.

Breast reconstruction with implants is usually done in two stages, or surgeries. During the surgeries, you will receive general anesthesia. This is medicine that keeps you asleep and pain-free.

In the first stage:

  • The surgeon creates a pouch under your chest muscle.
  • A small tissue expander is placed in the pouch. The expander is balloon-like and made of silicone.
  • A valve is placed below the skin of the breast. The valve is connected by a tube to the expander. (The tube stays below the skin in your breast area.)
  • Your chest still looks flat right after this surgery.
  • Starting about 2 to 3 weeks after surgery, you see your surgeon every 1 or 2 weeks. During these visits, your surgeon injects a small amount of saline (salt water) through the valve into the expander.
  • Over time, the expander slowly enlarges the pouch in your chest to the right size for the surgeon to place an implant.
  • When it reaches the right size, you will wait 1 to 3 months before the permanent breast implant is placed during the second stage.

In the second stage:

  • The surgeon removes the tissue expander from your chest and replaces it with a breast implant. This surgery takes 1 to 2 hours.
  • Before this surgery, you will have talked with your surgeon about the different kinds of breast implants. Implants may be filled with either saline or a silicone gel.

You may have another minor procedure later that remakes the nipple and areola area.

When is the best time to have breast reconstruction?

Talk with your doctor before your mastectomy. He or she will then talk with you about your options for:

  • Immediate reconstruction. This is reconstructive surgery done at the same time as the mastectomy.
  • Delayed reconstruction. This is a surgery done after recovery from the mastectomy. If radiation therapy is part of the treatment plan, the surgeon may advise waiting until after the radiation is finished.

Here are some things to keep in mind about the best time to schedule it:

  • Your emotional and psychological well-being. Some experts think that waking up from a mastectomy with the reconstruction already done is less traumatic than waking up without a breast.
  • Any other treatments you are having. If you’re getting radiation after your surgery, you may need to postpone breast reconstruction. Radiation to the reconstructed breast can increase the chance of problems.
  • Recovery time. Having reconstruction surgery at the same time as your mastectomy may mean you’ll recover faster.
  • The condition of your skin. If your skin isn’t ready for the stretching that goes on during reconstruction, you may need to have the procedure later on. For example, the skin of women who smoke or who have diabetes may need extra healing time before reconstruction.

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