This page details some of the reconstructive options available to women suffering from breast cancer and provides answers to some frequently asked questions.
The loss of one or both breasts due to cancer can leave women with both physical and emotional scars. Dr. Sarah Mess understands how rewarding breast reconstruction is for a woman, and she is committed to helping her patients on their road to recovery. Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure performed after a mastectomy to restore the breast(s) to a more normal shape and size. Dr. Mess offers several breast reconstruction surgery options for women who want to regain their feminine breast contour. (click here to see Breast Reconstruction before and after photos)
Ideal Candidates for Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction is a good option for women who are physically and psychologically healthy. Potential patients should decide to undergo breast reconstruction for themselves, not to satisfy anyone else’s desires. Ideal candidates should not have additional medical conditions that may slow or complicate healing. Although a great improvement is expected, women should be realistic about the outcome of their procedure.
Preparing for Breast Reconstruction Surgery
After your medical records have been reviewed, Dr. Mess will discuss what to expect prior to undergoing reconstructive breast surgery. It is necessary to stop smoking and discontinue the use of any anti-inflammatory drugs four weeks before surgery, since these can increase bleeding and interfere with healing. Dr. Mess has the knowledge and experience necessary to prepare you for surgery and provide a safe and effective procedure.
The Breast Reconstruction Procedure
Breast reconstruction after mastectomy is performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. Breast reconstruction after radiation treatment usually requires a flap or tissue expansion to be performed. The flap method usually provides the supportive tissue needed to cover an implant, but in some cases a complete breast mound can be formed with this method. The technique that is used will depend on your preference and what Dr. Mess thinks will be most beneficial to you.
TRAM Flap –A flap of muscle, fat, and skin from the stomach is used to reconstruct the breast. The flap can either be tunneled through the chest wall or completely removed and transplanted to form a breast mound or supportive tissue for an implant.
DIEP Flap – Tissue that does not contain muscle is removed from the abdomen or buttock and transplanted to the chest.
Latissimus Dorsi Flap – Muscle, skin, and fat from the back is tunneled to the breast while staying connected to the donor site, leaving the blood supply intact.
Tissue Expansion – This technique offers patients an easier recovery process, but the procedure takes more time to complete. An expander is placed beneath the skin and is gradually filled through a valve over the next few months. The volume in the expander is increased until the skin is stretched enough to cover an implant, which then replaces the device.
Nipple reconstruction, fat injection, and minor revisions can be scheduled after the patient has recovered from the initial breast reconstruction procedure.
Dr. Mess is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). She is a member of the distinguished American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Dr Mess has extensive experience and training in breast reconstruction surgery. She understands a woman’s body, and she takes pride in helping women achieve the best reconstructive results possible.
Recovery: What to Expect after Your Breast Reconstruction
After the surgery is finished, the breasts are covered with waterproof bandages and a specialized garment to minimize swelling. Patients will be advised to follow some basic instructions:
- Get plenty of rest and ice the area for the first few days after the procedure
- Take prescribed pain medication to alleviate pain and soreness
- Schedule a follow-up appointment to make sure there are no complications
- Avoid any strenuous activity or exercise for two to three weeks
If patients follow these steps and no complications arise, they can generally return to work about one week after surgery. Scarring will diminish over the next couple of months, and silicone sheets can be applied to speed up this process. Our goal is to provide you with a safe and effective procedure that achieves results you can feel confident about.
How Much does Breast reconstruction cost
Insurance typically covers breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Contact your provider for deductible information and the specific details of your coverage.
Results after Breast Reconstruction Surgery
The results of breast reconstruction are very noticeable after treatment is complete. The effects of radiation and the removal of cancerous material may remain evident for years to come, but most breast reconstruction patients appreciate their new appearance and are excited that they can return to their lives with their breasts restored. Patients from all over Maryland and Washington D.C. seek Dr. Mess’ expertise for breast reconstruction surgery.
We welcome you view our photo gallery to see before and after photos of breast reconstruction from some of Dr. Mess’ patients.
Dr. Mess understands the emotional and physical toll that the loss of breasts can have on women. She is extremely dedicated to helping her patients improve the shape of their breasts and improve their outlook on life. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Mess, call (410) 910-2350.
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