A breast reconstruction works to restore the shape and size of breasts that have undergone mastectomy or lumpectomy. It’s one of the only procedures capable of recreating the natural form of the bust for the purpose of improving your self-confidence and sense of femininity.
You can choose to receive breast reconstruction at the time of your mastectomy or later on when you’re ready. Communicating your desires to your breast surgeon and discussing cancer surgery with a plastic surgeon will help you find the best time to reconstruct your breasts.
You may decide to come in for a consultation before a mastectomy or afterward. Depending on when you see Mr Ritz, you will discuss your current condition and your plans for cancer surgery. Mr Ritz works closely with breast surgeons and can perform your reconstruction immediately after mastectomy if that is the route you choose to go.
There are several ways to perform breast reconstruction depending on the amount of tissue removed during mastectomy or lumpectomy as well as your body composition. Implants are commonly used to restore fullness to the breasts as well as autologous tissue donations that recreate the breast shape.
It’s not uncommon for Mr Ritz to use tissue flap procedures to reconstruct the breasts. Much of the tissue that he would need is available in particular regions of your body. A TRAM flap is taken from the rectus abdominal muscle along with necessary skin and fat. A DIEP flap removes only the skin and tissue of the abdomen while the Lat Dorsi flap procedure uses skin and tissue from the upper back.
Along with muscle, skin and fat, blood vessels can also be transplanted to the breasts to restore blood flow along with fat grafting techniques that use fat from one region of the body to add volume and structure.
It can be challenging to determine the right technique for your individual case but with a thorough consultation with Mr Ritz, you will learn about your options and choose the method that suits your health, lifestyle and cosmetic goals.
Before undergoing surgery, you will meet with Mr Ritz one or two more times to review your treatment plan and discuss any other questions that you may have about surgery.
You should be admitted into surgery two hours before your procedure is set to begin. If you are having reconstruction and mastectomy combined, it may be necessary for you to admit the day before surgery for sufficient preparation.
While you are in the hospital, Mr Ritz and possibly your breast surgeon will draw markings to indicate where they need to make incisions. You will also meet with an anaesthetist who will explain what you can expect in the beginning stages of surgery.
Because breast reconstruction is highly individualised, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how your surgery will be performed. You will, however, have a treatment plan that outlines the specific parameters of your surgery.
Depending on the extent of your breast reconstruction, you may be required to stay overnight in an intensive care unit. Afterward, you can transfer to a private hospital room where you may stay for up to a week.
While in the hospital, staff will be keeping a close eye on any drains that Mr Ritz has placed. Once the drains have finished collecting any fluids, Mr Ritz will have you fitted for a specialised support bra that limits swelling. You will be required to wear this bra for up to six weeks every day and night. You will also come in for follow up appointments once a week to assess the progress of your surgery.
Post operative Care
For the first two weeks after your surgery, you will be unable to drive. It may be helpful to have a friend or family member assist you during the initial stages of your recovery. It’s also essential that you refrain from any rigorous activity that may raise your blood pressure and increase bleeding. After six weeks or at the discretion of Mr Ritz you can return to your daily routine.