Breast reconstruction surgery is done to recreate the portion of the breast that has been removed due to cancer treatment. It restores a natural, balanced look – while helping you feel like yourself again.
It’s normal to go through a range of emotions after beating breast cancer. You and your body are permanently changed as a result of the journey that you’ve been on – and it will take time to get used to your new normal.
Following a mastectomy or lumpectomy, many women feel a strong desire to restore their pre-cancer breasts and reclaim their feminine bodies. For these women, a reconstruction procedure with Dr. Kotis can be the final step that brings their journey full circle.
During your breast reconstruction, Dr. Kotis will rebuild your breasts using implants or your natural body tissue.
Here’s what you need to know:
If you choose to rebuild your breasts with implants, Dr. Kotis will insert a tissue expander under your pectoral muscle after your mastectomy. In the following weeks, this expander will be filled with saline to stretch the muscle and create space for an implant.
Once the stretching process is complete, you will schedule a surgery to have your implants permanently placed.
If you don’t want implants, your breast mound can be rebuilt using tissue from another part of your body. Because this procedure involves two surgical sites on the body, there will be two scar locations.
With this procedure, the tissue is often taken from the back, abdomen or buttocks. In some cases, the tissue can remain connected to its blood supply, but in others a new blood supply will need to be created.
Once your new breasts have been created and the area has fully healed, you may decide to have your nipples recreated. It’s important to note that although your new nipples will look natural, they will not respond to touch and other sensations.
In most cases, Dr. Kotis will form a new nipple using your chest skin. To restore the appearance of an areola, he typically tattoos the skin around your new nipple or grafts tissue from another area of your body.
How long it takes to complete your reconstruction will depend on your treatment and the number of surgeries necessary for your procedure. In most cases, the entire process can be completed in six months to a year.
The timeline often looks like the following:
Your mastectomy is performed and expanders are placed (if reconstruction is to be done using implants). The breast tissue is gradually stretched over a period of two to three months.
Your breast implants are placed or a new breast mound is created using body tissue.
After two months of healing, Dr. Kotis recreates your nipple and areola during a third procedure.