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Many women opt to restore their profile through breast reconstruction. Columbus, Ohio plastic surgeon Dr. Sieffert addresses breast cancer reconstruction with an approach unique to each patient.
For women who have undergone mastectomy or lumpectomy for treatment or prevention of breast cancer, the disfigurement can leave emotional as well as physical scars. Plastic surgery can help women cope with the loss of one or both breasts through breast reconstruction.
For women who have undergone mastectomy or lumpectomy for treatment or prevention of breast cancer, the disfigurement can leave emotional as well as physical scars. Plastic surgery can help women cope with the loss of one or both breasts through breast reconstruction. The goal of breast reconstruction is to restore one or both breasts to near normal shape, appearance, symmetry and size following mastectomy, lumpectomy or congenital deformities.
Dr. Michelle Sieffert specializes in breast reconstruction and offers multiple techniques. Techniques include using implants or the patient’s own body. Immediate reconstruction is sometimes possible, during the same operation as the mastectomy, but many patients are still candidates months to years later.
Breast reconstruction can help to heal patients physically and psychologically after a breast cancer diagnosis or mastectomy. It can often be useful in returning a sense of normalcy to patients’ lives, as well as increasing confidence and positive self-image.
Just as breast cancer differs from person to person, so do our desires for our own bodies. That’s why we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach for patients with breast cancer; we are here to help you find whatever solution is best for you.
If you can identify with any of the above sentiments, your next step may be scheduling a consultation for breast reconstruction surgery.
Dr. Sieffert will ask about your lifestyle, health and treatment plan leading up to reconstruction. Together, you will go over your goals and decide your optimal breast size and preferred method of reconstruction. Come into your consultation prepared to discuss:
Dr. Sieffert may also talk to you about any emotional issues you have dealt with relating to your breast cancer diagnosis. She will take measurements and photographs, and discuss the procedure with you in detail. She will describe the surgical technique and typical scars. Lastly, Dr. Sieffert will provide you with specific information about how to prepare for your surgery, which may include referrals for imaging, or stopping certain medications or habits.
The consultation also provides the perfect opportunity to discuss your fears and concerns with Dr. Sieffert, and to ask any questions you may have related to the surgery.
It is important for you to actively participate in your surgical plan. Here are some questions that should hopefully be answered during your consultation:
This list is incomplete, and not necessarily specific to your individual needs. After some research, you will identify the informational categories that seem most important. Some patients come prepared with a list of topics or questions so they don’t forget anything!
Many patients want to know more about how they can best prepare for breast reconstruction. Although Dr. Sieffert will provide you with specific recommendations and instructions, prior to your surgery, you may be asked to:
It is important to prepare for your recovery so that you are not scrambling to make arrangements after surgery. You will need a driver to and from surgery, as well as someone nearby for the first 24-48 hours. You will also want to get your home ready for your recovery, and have some of the following things on hand:
Dr. Sieffert and staff will explain any other specific instructions or materials that may be necessary for your recovery.
Although complications stemming from breast reconstruction surgery are typically fairly rare, they do exist, as with any major surgery. During your consultation, Dr. Sieffert will highlight the most common risks which may include:
Breast reconstruction without implants is usually performed by moving fat and tissue from other areas of the body to recreate one or both breasts. This technique is called autologous breast reconstruction. Columbus, Ohio women who may be uncomfortable with silicone gel or saline implants can now consider reconstruction with one’s own tissue.
Breast cancer patients who receive radiation therapy may opt for autologous tissue reconstruction because it offers fewer long-term complications and a more realistic “feel” than breast reconstruction with implants in this setting.
Implant-based breast reconstruction is a great option for some mastectomy patients, particularly when no radiation is required. The surgery is usually less complex, but the preparation process can require several weeks.
Muscle, fat and skin is moved to the mastectomy area to reconstruct the breast. The TRAM Flap (transverse rectus abdominus myocutaneous) technique uses abdominal musculature to form the new breast, while the latissimus dorsi (lat flap) technique uses the upper back muscle for the same purpose.
Two of the most recent reconstructive techniques are the DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) flap and SIEA flap. They use only superficial fat, skin and blood vessels from the belly or buttocks to create a new breast. This means less disturbance of the muscles and less chance for weakness or abdominal bulging, but they also require many more hours in the operating room under a microscope, and more prolonged recovery time in the hospital.
As a finishing touch after breast reconstruction, a board-certified plastic surgeon can perform nipple reconstruction and tattooing to create a new areola, so your breasts look as natural as possible.
State-of-the-art breast surgery requires a multidisciplinary approach. A good reconstructive surgeon will communicate with you and your general surgeon, oncologist, radiologist and primary care physician as necessary to create a solution that is tailored to your needs.
After your surgery, your incisions will be covered with light dressings and a supportive sports-style bra that detaches in front. This bra is worn during recovery to minimize swelling, support the breasts as they heal, and hold breasts symmetrically during the healing process without an irritating underwire.
Dr. Sieffert will prescribe pain medication to minimize discomfort, as well as provide you with specific post-operative instructions. His staff will assist you in coordinating follow-up appointments. Typically, you can resume your normal activities within 1-2 weeks and rigorous athletics within 4-6 weeks. Scars should fade within 6-12 months.
To schedule a consultation for breast reconstruction with Dr. Michelle Sieffert, contact Donaldson Plastic Surgery today.