Female plastic surgeon Dr. Jennifer Harrington is nationally acclaimed for her expertise in reconstructive surgery, particularly of the breasts. She has helped countless women overcoming breast cancer through customized breast reconstruction surgery.
At Harrington Plastic Surgery, we’ve helped women from the Twin Cities area and throughout Minnesota after having a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Contact us online or call our Plymouth office today at 651-290-7600 for more information about breast reconstruction, including pricing and coverage.
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Who Is a Good Candidate for Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
Most women who have had a mastectomy or lumpectomy for one or both breasts and are in remission can be good candidates for reconstructive breast surgery. Breast reconstruction surgery may also be appropriate for women who have sustained injury to the breasts. The most common candidates for breast reconstruction include:
- Women who have had or are going to have a single or double mastectomy to remove one or more cancerous tumors
- Women who have had a lumpectomy on one or both breasts and plan to undergo chemotherapy
- Women who have had a traumatic injury to one or both breasts
Your Reconstructive Breast Surgery
Breast Reconstruction Surgery with Implants
Reconstruction with saline or silicone breast implants is one method of rebuilding the breasts after a mastectomy. Implant reconstruction is usually a staged procedure. Immediately following your mastectomy, Dr. Harrington will insert a balloon-like tissue expander into the breast pocket to gradually make room for the implant. She will also place an ADM for the implant to rest more comfortably in the pocket. The expansion process may take up to several months before Dr. Harrington inserts the implant. Some women benefit from a breast lift or breast reduction on the opposite breast to create better symmetry.
Also known as autologous reconstruction, flap reconstruction uses tissue from other areas of the body, such as the belly, back or buttocks to create a new breast. The best donor site varies for each woman and depends on factors such as breast size and the amount of excess tissue in potential donor sites. Some women prefer flap reconstruction, as the reconstructed breast can be made entirely of their own natural tissue. In some cases, however, a combination of flap and implant reconstruction may provide the best results. Flap reconstruction can be performed at the same time as a mastectomy, some time after a mastectomy or as a staged procedure.
Nipple and Areola Reconstruction
For women whose mastectomy removed all or part of the nipple areolar complex, reconstruction of the nipple and/or areola can be performed. Tissue from another part of the body or tissue from the mastectomy site can be transplanted to the newly reconstructed breast to create a nipple mound. Many women also benefit from nipple areola tattooing to create the appearance of a natural, intact nipple.
Fat Transfer Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction surgery can also be performed using fat grafting, also known as fat transfer. During fat transfer breast reconstruction, fat cells are removed from another area of the body using liposuction before being processed and injected into the reconstructed breast. While for many mastectomy patients, fat transfer alone will not produce the desired results, the technique can be combined with implant reconstruction or flap-based reconstruction to create softer, rounder contours and a more natural feel.
Breast Reconstruction Surgery Recovery
Most women take at least 1 to 4 weeks away from work and other normal activities after getting reconstructive breast surgery. Dr. Harrington may ask you to wear a special post-surgical bra to assist with the healing process. Women who have fat transfer or flap reconstruction will also need to care for the donor site during their recovery process, which may include using ice packs or an additional compression garment. Depending on your individual procedure, your final results may take from 6 to 12 months to fully develop.
It’s important to discuss possible risks and complications with Dr. Harrington prior to having breast reconstruction. If you notice any sudden pain or swelling, notify our office immediately.
Breast Reconstruction FAQs
How do I choose the best breast reconstruction plastic surgeon near me?
When choosing a plastic surgeon for breast reconstruction near you, start by narrowing your search to include only board-certified plastic surgeons to ensure your plastic surgeon has the extensive medical training and experience needed to perform intricate procedures such as breast reconstruction. Next, view before and after photos, read reviews online and ask friends and family members in your area for recommendations. Book a consultation with your top one or two picks to make your final decision.
How painful is breast reconstruction?
You should not feel any pain or discomfort during your breast reconstruction surgery, as this procedure is performed under general anesthesia. After breast reconstruction surgery, expect to experience some tenderness, minor discomfort, swelling and bruising. Your plastic surgeon will provide you with detailed recovery guidelines to help make your breast reconstruction healing process as smooth and comfortable as possible.
Is breast reconstruction a major surgery?
Yes, breast reconstruction is considered a major surgery and can be performed at the same time as a mastectomy or afterwards as its own procedure. Breast reconstruction is performed under general anesthesia and can take anywhere from 1 to 6 hours, depending on the surgical technique used and other factors specific to your procedure.
How long does it take to recover from breast reconstruction surgery?
Recovery time after reconstructive breast surgery depends on the type of reconstructive surgery you had, whether or not it was performed with a mastectomy and other factors. Generally speaking, recovery after a flap reconstruction surgery is longer than recovery after breast reconstruction with implants. Plan on taking anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks off work and other obligations to allow your body to properly heal after your reconstructive breast surgery.
When will I see my results after breast reconstruction?
Final results after breast reconstruction surgery can take 6 months or more to be fully visible, though you will see an immediate change in the appearance of your breasts after your procedure, with results gradually improving over time. Keep in mind that some women may still not feel sensations in their breasts following breast reconstruction.