A mastectomy is the removal of the whole breast. It is usually a procedure that women need after a breast cancer diagnosis. There are several different types of mastectomy, including total mastectomy, skin- and nipple-sparing mastectomy, radical mastectomy, and a double mastectomy. Here we will discuss the most common mastectomies. If you are looking for breast surgeons in Houston, look no further than the Breast Institute Houston. With state of the art breast cancer treatment options, we aim to make this journey as painless as possible for you.
“Today, a woman should end up having prettier breasts than she had before being diagnosed with breast cancer.” — Breast Health Institute Houston
Recovery from breast cancer treatment is not what it used to be. With breast reconstruction in Houston offered by Darlene M. Miltenburg Md, FRCS(C), FACS you will achieve the best possible aesthetic results in a caring, understanding, and informative environment.
Although breast reconstruction after a mastectomy can be a complicated and sometimes risky undertaking, Dr. Miltenburg believes all patients deserve to be considered. Dr. Miltenburg discusses surgical options with patients, regardless of age, co-morbid conditions, cancer stage, geographic location, insurance coverage, etc.
Breast reconstruction surgery can vary for women who have undergone a full mastectomy. When mastectomy patients have received the procedure due to tumors, BRCA mutation prevention, or any other factors, the first step for your surgeon is to make sure your health is intact when removing the breasts. This can result in a more difficult reconstructive surgery, as the area becomes too sensitive to sustain the standard reconstructive procedure.
Choosing to undergo breast reconstruction surgery is a brave decision that has been proven to significantly decrease, if not eliminate your chances of breast cancer. The point of a reconstructive surgery is to regain the feeling and appearance of breasts for women who have gone through a mastectomy. There are two main options for reconstruction; implant surgery and free flap surgery, or an autologous breast reconstruction. If you chose to have an immediate reconstructive surgery following your mastectomy, the surgery will take about an hour longer, and your recovery time in the hospital will be more delayed. If you separated the two surgeries, recovery from a reconstruction can be an outpatient procedure where the patient is able to return to the comfort of their home on the same day they were admitted. If you’re in need of an incredible doctor to perform a breast reconstruction in Houston, look no further than the team at the Breast Health Institute of Houston.
Settling at Home
Once you have been discharged and have returned home, make sure someone is with you or has agreed to check in on you often throughout the coming weeks. Recovery is a slow and patient process that will require the help of others for tasks you are too sore or weak to do yourself. Make sure you are getting plenty of rest in your first few days at home. It is very important that you remember everything your surgeon told you about how best to recovery. Breast reconstruction patients in Houston have found it beneficial to keep a small list detailing recovery reminders with them through their time resting at home. Your doctors will have prescribed you pain management solutions for you to recover comfortably, so be sure to administer the medication as frequently as instructed. Do not ever exceed the prescribed dosage without talking with your doctor first to see if you need an adjustment in the amount.
Beyond the physical pain of reconstructive surgery, there is a mental pain that many patients experience. During your recovery time, it is natural to want to see how different your breasts look. Depending on the type of surgery you chose, the change could be substantial. Try not to dwell heavily on the way your body used to look, but instead try to commend yourself for being a fighter and a cancer survivor.
Continuing the Journey
After you have had plenty of time to heal and have begun to pick up more of your daily routines, your doctor will prescribe a physical therapy schedule. Your duration and frequency will depend on how substantial the reconstruction was, and whether you are resuming chemotherapy treatments. Physical therapy is a wonderful way for breast reconstructive Houston patients to regain mobility and strength while slowly learning how to perform daily tasks without causing injury to themselves. Because the sessions are monitored by medical professionals, the workouts are helpful, and the risk of injury is exponentially lower than if the patient was to try exercising on her own.
After about six weeks of recovery, most patients can return to work and their daily lives with little to no pain. At this stage of the reconstructive process, patients again begin to deal with the reality that their bodies have been through a significant change. It’s important in these moments to stay positive and remember that your body is incredibly strong. Once you’ve passed the three-month mark, you can begin talking to your surgeon about a nipple reconstruction. This surgery is completely optional, but if it will help you adjust to your new body, many patients have felt that it helps them. After a year of dedicated, patient recovery, your frequent doctor checkups will end, and your breasts will be very close to their final appearance. Congratulations on your incredible journey!
It can be devastating for a woman to learn that she must lose her breasts in order to defeat breast cancer. Fortunately, with the advancements in modern technology and reconstructive surgery, there are ways to rebuild the breasts to make them look even better than they did before surgery. At the Breast Institute Houston, we have encountered many women who are deciding whether or not to undergo breast reconstruction in Houston after undergoing a mastectomy procedure. This is a big decision, and we want to make sure our patients are fully equipped with the details to make the most informed choices about their bodies.
To better understand whether breast reconstruction is a viable option following the mastectomy process, our friendly professionals have written a quick guide giving you all of the details. Not only are there several reconstruction procedures that can bring breasts back to life, but there are also several types of mastectomies that don’t have to remove all parts of the breast for a successful procedure.
Types of Mastectomies
There are types of mastectomies that can be part of the reconstructive process. One of the most popular is the skin and nipple sparing mastectomy, which essentially means that all of the breast is removed except for the tissue attached under the nipple. The nipple-areolar complex and surrounding skin will be spared, leaving you with your natural nipples. This is a great option if the cancer is not too large or too close to the nipples.
There is also the skin sparing mastectomy, which does not save the nipple but does save the skin around the breast. This is one of the best procedures to opt for alongside a breast reconstruction surgery. This is another viable option if the cancer is associated with the nipple and must be removed.
Types of Reconstruction Surgeries
The patient can choose to invest in a reconstruction surgery based on the immediate needs of the breast. For example, there are plenty of procedures that can create an entirely new breast using a variety of natural harvested fat and implant materials. This is a great option for those who have had to receive a full mastectomy due to breast cancer.
With a partial mastectomy or a lumpectomy, there is the oncoplastic surgery option, which involves much less reconstruction as the mastectomy can save most of the breast tissue. There are many options depending on the patient’s specific needs, and these needs are addressed when the patient visits for the mastectomy consultation. There is also the matter of when and how the surgery will be performed.
When the Surgery Will Be Performed
Patients can choose between a delayed or an immediate reconstruction surgery. This also depends on the needs and candidacy of the patient, as the doctor will want to ensure that she is receiving the best type of care possible. Some patients can choose to have an immediate reconstruction, which means that the breast is reconstruction during the mastectomy, at the same time it is removed.
Otherwise, the option of delayed reconstruction remains, meaning that the patient can choose to have a breast reconstruction procedure at another time.
How the Surgery Will Be Performed
There are two distinct methods of creating a reconstructed breast. The first uses implant-based reconstruction, which means that a lightweight, comfortable, and highly advanced silicone implant will be inserted under the tissue to create a natural-looking breast.
If the option to save most of the natural breast tissue is possible, then the patient may be able to have an autologous reconstruction, which means the surgeon will harvest the patient’s own fat from other parts of their body and insert it into the breast to make it round and full. There is also the option to have a combination of these two procedures.
Decide at Your Own Pace
When it comes to whether you want a breast reconstruction, there is no right or wrong answer. Our Breast Institute Houston staff members pride themselves on the advancements made towards creating beautiful breasts for those who have had to undergo mastectomies due to cancer. Whether you are seeking a partial or a full reconstruction, we have all of the necessary means to familiarize you with the process and get you feeling comfortable about your choice. Remember, you can always choose to have a delayed procedure as well.
Breast Reconstruction in Houston
No matter what your ultimate choice is, our staff is here to support you every step of the way. For more information on breast reconstruction in Houston, you can connect with us online or give us a call at (713) 714-3930 to speak with a friendly representative. We look forward to guiding you through the healing process!
Breast cancer is a tough battle and for those who survive, the options post-surgery can be daunting. If you’ve had a partial or full mastectomy, you might be wondering what your options are in terms of breast reconstruction surgery. Read on to learn more about whether you are a candidate, what types of surgeries are available and when the timing might be right to visit a breast cancer doctor in Houston.
As always, please use the resources available at the Breast Institute Houston for any questions or concerns you may have.
Is It Right for Me?
Whether or not to have breast reconstruction surgery is a very personal decision. What might work for one woman, won’t necessarily work for another, and there are other options apart from surgery. Some women choose to use padding or might decide to make no effort to change their appearance. The good news is that surgery has come a long way with options to reconstruct using implants or even a woman’s own tissue.
What Are My Options?
Your options will depend on the type of cancer treatment you’ve had, other health issues and what kind of result you are looking for. Below are the options available:
• Breast implants are probably the most common option for women considering breast reconstruction. The first step in this process is to stretch the skin with what’s called a tissue expander that is placed inside the chest. This tissue expander is then filled to the desired volume by adding a saline solution, typically about once a week. This will take several sessions to achieve the desired result. Several weeks later, a silicone gel or saline implant is inserted.
• Another option is a tissue flap procedure which actually uses a woman’s own tissue that is taken from the abdomen or the back (or in some cases, the thighs or bottom) in order to create a mound in which to reconstruct the breast. Depending on the location from which the skin is taken, sometimes the tissue is kept attached to its blood supply and sometimes it’s disconnected and then reconnected to the blood supply of the new location.
• Some reconstruction patients also might want to consider nipple reconstruction. In most cases, the nipple and areola are removed during a mastectomy in order to lower the odds of the cancer returning. Nipple reconstruction can be done after breast reconstruction is finished, allowing the new tissue to heal and settle into place. Typically, surgeons create the new nipple from the tissue taken from the back or abdomen. The tissue is then tattooed to match the color of a nipple.
What’s the Right Timing?
You should consult with your surgeon to determine the best timing, as it is really based on your medical condition, cancer treatment, as well as the ultimate results you want to see from breast reconstruction surgery. Some women choose to have the surgery performed during the same operation when the breast is removed and some choose to do it months or even years after their mastectomy. If you have already started chemotherapy or radiation treatment, reconstruction is typically delayed until you complete those treatments.
If the decision is made to forgo reconstruction, non-surgical options include getting fitted for a post-mastectomy bra and prosthesis. This is done once the incisions have healed, usually about six weeks post-surgery.
Breast Cancer Doctor in Houston
To learn more about your breast reconstruction options, visit the team at the Breast Institute Houston. You can schedule a consultation, view our picture gallery, meet the team and find more information about all of your breast health options. If you’ve been thinking about whether or not breast reconstruction surgery is right for you, or if you are simply looking for a second option, don’t wait. Schedule your consultation with the premier breast cancer doctor in Houston today.