Cosmetic Breast Surgery After a Mastectomy
Women who want to restore the shape and symmetry of their breasts following a mastectomy have the option of undergoing breast reconstruction. Throughout South Florida, Dr. Jason Cooper’s expertise in breast reconstruction techniques, developed during more than 400 operations as an attending surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, is one of the reasons women select him to perform their surgeries.
If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, or have already had a mastectomy and are considering breast reconstruction in the Palm Beach Gardens area, request a consultation online at Dr. Jason Cooper’s Jupiter, FL practice, High Point Plastic Surgery. Or call our office at 561-509-1606 to schedule an appointment.
Speaking From Experience
“During the pre-operative surgical consultation, I evaluate the patient to determine the best approach to breast reconstruction. I explain the tradeoffs associated with both delayed and immediate breast reconstruction. I evaluate the patient’s body type, the potential oncologic and radiation needs following surgery, as well as her physical demands and emotional well-being. Everything is taken into consideration to determine the best plan individualized for the patient.”
What Is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction describes several procedures that all share the goal of re-creating the shape, form, and symmetry of your breasts following either a unilateral or bilateral mastectomy. Breast reconstruction can be immediate, meaning at the time of the mastectomy, or it can be delayed to any time after mastectomy – even years later. The decision to undergo breast reconstruction after a mastectomy is highly personal and Dr. Cooper encourages patients to discuss their options with him even if they decide against undergoing reconstruction.
Types of Breast Reconstruction
There are 2 main types of breast reconstruction:
- Reconstruction with a breast implant, or implants
- Reconstruction using your own tissue taken from another part of your body (called a “tissue flap”)
Customizing Your Surgical Procedure
A few highly-trained plastic surgeons can perform implant-based breast reconstruction as a single-stage operation, with the implant being placed immediately at the time of mastectomy (called direct-to-implant placement). Some women may need to have a tissue expander inserted to gradually stretch the tissues to create a pocket for the implant.
Understanding Direct-to-Implant Placement
Dr. Jason Cooper specializes in direct-to-implant placement at the time of mastectomy, an advanced approach that is becoming more popular as women choose to undergo skin-sparing and nipple-sparing mastectomies. He works closely with your breast surgeon, who performs the mastectomy, along with your other health care providers to develop a comprehensive surgical plan. Dr. Jason Cooper then completes the single-stage reconstruction of the breast mound by inserting the implant. The implant is typically supported by a pocket that Dr. Cooper creates using the pectoral muscle and an acellular tissue matrix.
A staged procedure using a tissue expander requires a second operation. During the interim, the expander —an implant-like device — is filled periodically by Dr. Jason Cooper to gradually stretch the tissues. A second operation is scheduled, wherein the expander is removed and replaced by an implant.
Some patients who either aren’t good candidates for breast implants, or who don’t want an implant, can choose reconstruction using their own skin, tissue, and fat taken from another part of the body. The abdomen, upper back, or buttocks are the most common donor sites used in these “flap” procedures. Flap procedures are more complex, requiring microsurgery to reconnect blood vessels, and because they involve multiple areas of the body, the duration of the surgery and the recovery is longer.
There is a reason Dr. Jason Cooper is regarded as one of South Florida’s premier plastic surgeons; the consistently beautiful results that only a specialist with his experience and training can get.
What to Expect When Planning Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Many patients spend 1 or 2 days in the hospital following breast reconstruction with implants, but sometimes they are discharged the same day. Your stay will be longer if you have a flap procedure. The length of your recovery depends on the type of procedure performed. Reconstruction using implants involves a shorter recovery than flap procedures. It’s important to follow the detailed postoperative instructions provided by Dr. Jason Cooper to help you heal as quickly as possible without complications. Although recovery varies from patient to patient, and procedure to procedure, here are some general guidelines:
Day of surgery: It’s common to feel some nausea after being placed under general anesthesia. Your first day or 2 will be monitored by Dr. Jason Cooper, your breast surgeon, and the hospital’s medical staff.
First week after surgery: After returning home, get plenty of rest and continue using prescription pain relief medication as needed to manage your discomfort. It’s natural to feel tired and sore for the first few days and weeks after your procedure, but it’s important to walk frequently to help your circulation. Avoid lifting anything heavier than a few pounds.
Several weeks after surgery: Most women return to their routine daily activities within 6 weeks of surgery. It may be more time before you can do strenuous exercise. Bruising, soreness, and swelling gradually fade after about 2 to 3 weeks.