Once anesthesia is induced. Your chest and breast area will be cleaned with an antibiotic solution and then draped with sterile towels. The type of breast reconstruction will depend on your surgeon.
Today there are various muscles flaps used to reconstruct the breast.
The flaps used are obtained from your own body and are used to cover the wound.
Occasionally, the surgeon will also use an implant to reconstruct the breast.
One of the most common flaps used to reconstruct the breast is the TRAM flap. The tram flap stands for traversus rectus abdominus muscle flap. It is a muscle flap obtained from the lateral aspect of the abdomen and then tunneled into the chest and formed into a breast.
Other flaps used to reconstruct the breast include the DIEP or SGAP flaps.
Sometimes a muscle from the side of the chest (latissimus dorsi) is tunneled from the skin and formed into a breast. The muscle is frequently used to support a breast implant and provide necessary coverage when tissue is lacking
In some cases, patients have received radiation therapy and there is little skin left to close the wound. In such cases, a tissue expander is placed and over time is stretches the healthy skin. After 3-6 months, the expander is removed and the reconstruction undertaken. The excess skin allows for closure of the flaps.
Tissue expanders do help closure of wound the but procedure is more prolonged.
When implants are used to compliment reconstruction, either saline or silicone implants can be used. The best implant is decided by our surgeon. In the majority of cases where an implant is used, a tissue expander is always required.
In many cases, all attempts are made to create a nipple and areola. This is the ultimate in breast reconstruction. Restoration of the nipple and areola provide the female with a sense of real breast.
After the surgery, a compression dressing will be placed around the breast. A sturdy support bra is recommended ? this helps support the reconstructed breast. Most surgeons leave a small drain (tube) in the breast area. The drain functions to remove the excess blood. Most drains stay anywhere from 7-14 days
The pain after breast reconstruction is mild to moderate. One will need some time of pain medications for the first 3-5 days.