After a mastectomy or lumpectomy, breast reconstruction surgery can provide patients with the opportunity to rebuild the breast. However, due to a number of possible factors, some women may feel let down by their reconstructive results. Postoperative complications, a poor aesthetic outcome, or a desire to convert to another type of reconstruction may leave you searching for a plastic surgeon to perform revisionary surgery.
Breast reconstruction revision surgery is designed to correct issues that have occurred as a result of previous reconstructive surgery, or complications from one. Austin Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery in Austin, TX performs revision surgeries to help patients restore the best possible breast contour to complement their unique figures. Instead of enhancing your confidence, poor results can make you feel especially self-conscious and dissatisfied. Breast reconstruction revision surgery aims to address physical and emotional quality-of-life issues that have developed since your initial reconstruction, while giving you a personalized aesthetic result.
When should I consider a corrective breast reconstruction?
Reasons for considering this procedure vary for each patient, depending on their medical and cosmetic circumstances. You may choose to undergo revision surgery because a previous reconstruction attempt failed. For instance, if you developed an infection that necessitated the removal or replacement of your implants, your result may be asymmetrical or disproportionate, which can require correction through revision surgery. Alternatively, if your reconstruction was performed in a way that left you with poor cosmetic results, revision surgery will allow you to reshape the breasts into a more aesthetically pleasing contour. Some patients may chose to convert from an implant reconstruction to a living tissue (such as DIEP flap) reconstruction, especially if they are experiencing problems with their implants. Other patients may simply want or need an implant exchange surgery.
Many patients seek breast reconstruction revision as a result of complications that have occurred in the breasts over time. These concerns can range from an implant displacement, rupture or capsular contracture, to a hernia in the abdominal area where the tissue was removed to rebuild your breast. Whether you are experiencing a medical issue, or your aesthetic goals were overlooked, our surgeons can design a surgical plan tailored to your health needs and cosmetic desires. Based on your in-depth consultation, your surgeon will weigh your medical and aesthetic concerns to help determine a revisionary plan. Having performed thousands of breast reconstruction revision procedures in Austin and beyond, our reconstructive plastic surgeons aim to help you feel more comfortable and confident about your body moving forward.
Symptoms of Complications after Breast Reconstruction
Whether you are unhappy with the results of your reconstruction, or you are experiencing symptoms that could indicate a complication, it is crucial to consult an experienced plastic surgeon who can examine your condition and determine the best way to proceed forward. Signs that medical issues may have developed after breast reconstruction include:
- Breast pain or discomfort
- Changes in the shape, size, or position of the breast
- Increasing tightness or firmness of the reconstructed breast
- Incorrect positioning of an implant
- A firm lump or area in the breast
Does medical insurance cover breast reconstruction revision?
Breast reconstruction procedures are covered by your health insurance plan as mandated by Federal law under the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) of 1998, whether they are done right away, soon after a mastectomy or lumpectomy, or many years later. This includes revision procedures that may be needed over time to refine the reconstructed breast and/or to create symmetry (balance) between the two breasts.
How is breast reconstruction revision performed?
Corrective breast reconstruction is highly customizable and will be planned according to your unique situation. The techniques used will depend on how your surgery was previously performed, what type of reconstruction you had, and the issues that have led you to pursue a revision procedure. For instance, if you have lost volume due to tissue breakdown or infection and would like to rebuild a breast, you may need to use excess skin and fat taken from another area of the body to rebuild the breast, rather than an implant. Alternatively, if you already had tissue taken from a donor site on your body, such as the abdomen, for a previous reconstruction, you may need to use tissue from a different site, like the buttocks or inner thighs, if you are seeking another tissue-based reconstruction.
Once tailored to your needs, the surgery will involve a similar procedural process as your initial reconstruction. In your consultation, your surgeon will walk you through the steps required before, during and after surgery for optimal results. Your surgeon will also ensure that you are comfortable, relaxed and fully informed of how she intends to address both your emotional and physical concerns through revision surgery.
How Long Does it Take for Breast Reconstruction Revision to Heal?
Your breast revision procedure is planned completely around your needs and preferences. In general, breast reconstruction revision recovery is expected to be similar to your first breast procedure. You can expect moderate discomfort during your first week after surgery and will be prescribed medication to help address this. Side effects should subside enough to return to work after seven to 10 days. You may need additional time off if you work a physically strenuous job. Heavy lifting and intense physical activity must be avoided for four to six weeks. You'll require the support of a good surgical bra or compression garment for several weeks, after which your breast tissue will continue to settle for up to six months.
Can Breast Cancer Patients Get Implants?
Yes. Breast implants are commonly used to restore shape, size, and symmetry after breast cancer treatment. In many instances today, it is possible to plan your initial breast reconstruction while also navigating your cancer treatment. Doing so can increase your peace of mind regarding your appearance and your sense of self throughout your journey. Keep in mind that breast implant surgery is one option out of several. Our doctors perform a variety of breast reconstruction techniques and plan each surgery around specific needs and preferences.
Can I Get Breast Reconstruction Revision at the Same Time as a Mastectomy?
It is not uncommon to begin breast reconstruction at the same time as a mastectomy. This may include breast implant placement in one or both breasts or another technique that can restore a natural-looking appearance. Our experienced doctors have performed many breast reconstruction surgeries and are happy to answer your questions. Breast reconstruction revision is a special surgical procedure that is done some time after the initial reconstruction has taken place. The revision may be sought or recommended for cosmetic or clinical reasons.
What Does a Reconstruction Revision Breast Look Like?
Breast reconstruction revision seeks to achieve results that are natural-looking and satisfying. By replacing breast implants or performing another technique to address unexpected complications or other complaints, your surgeon can improve the appearance of your surgical scars and improve the symmetry between your breasts to achieve a more harmonious shape. Your revised breasts should feel soft and natural, especially if your doctor has corrected a complication like capsular contracture. Like your initial reconstruction procedure, the goal of breast reconstruction revision is to help you regain satisfaction with your appearance! We take care with each step of the process to acheive results you will love.
How do I Prepare for Breast Reconstruction Revision Surgery?
You may prepare for your breast reconstruction revision in the same way you did your first reconstruction. Depending on your situation, your doctor may order tests or imaging to ensure you can safely undergo the procedure. A few weeks before surgery, you will need to begin avoiding the use of certain medications and supplements. You may receive a general list of products, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, to avoid. Alcohol and tobacco avoidance are also precautions that are necessary before surgery. In the week prior to your procedure, it is beneficial to eat a nutrient-rich diet and get plenty of sleep. These easy steps can help prepare your body for healing.
What Are the Risks and Complications Associated with My Procedure?
The risks associated with breast reconstruction and other breast surgeries apply to your reconstruction revision. These include:
- Poor incision healing
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
- Nerve damage
- Prolonged numbness
- Loss of sensation
- Poor cosmetic outcome
We understand that issues after breast reconstruction can affect your quality of life. Our team works hard to mitigate surgical risks and improve outcomes by adhering to strict guidelines in in the planning and performance of each procedure.
Breast Reconstruction Revision Surgery
Whether you have been left with poor cosmetic results or you are seeking to correct a complication, breast reconstruction revision surgery is a safe, highly advanced and effective way to rebuild a healthier, natural-looking contour of the breasts. Our surgeons have a unique awareness of the healing process after breast cancer surgery and encourage their patients to share their aesthetic and functional goals so they can better understand their needs. They believe in honoring the uniqueness of each woman and draw on a personalized approach for beautiful, fulfilling results. If you are experiencing painful physical symptoms after breast reconstruction, or if you are unhappy with the aesthetic outcome of your previous surgery, call our clinic in Austin, Texas at (512) 815-0123 to schedule your consultation today.