Having a large portion (or all) of your breast tissue removed can drastically affect your self-esteem. Getting restorative surgery is a way of regaining lost body confidence as well as the physical appearance of your breasts after undergoing a mastectomy. It does involve additional surgery, but the benefits for your wellbeing could be immense.

Are you thinking about taking this next step? Here’s what you need to know:

Are breast implants an option for me?

It’s important to realise that getting breast implants post-mastectomy is not a possibility for everyone. Implant reconstruction after a mastectomy is more difficult than the usual procedure, as much of the breast tissue, or all of it, has already been removed. Radiation can also affect whether or not you can get breast implants and it’s recommended that you wait until your radiation therapy is completed before undergoing further surgical procedures. 

This certainly doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but you will need to discuss options in depth with your cosmetic surgeon.

How does it work?

You can get surgery to reconstruct your breasts immediately or even months or years after undergoing a mastectomy, and there are two ways of getting this done: inserting implants, or using tissue from ‘donor sites’ from elsewhere on your body.

Getting implants involves inserting a tissue expander between the skin and the chest muscle, which is designed to gradually expand the tissue to create space for an implant. Over the course of several months, the expander is filled with saline in order to stretch the skin. Approximately four to six weeks after the final amount of saline has been injected into the expander, another procedure is performed during which a permanent implant is inserted.

The second option is when the surgeon uses tissue from other body areas, such as the abdomen or back, to reconstruct the shape of the breast. Factors that impact the best decision for you include your lifestyle, past surgeries, the amount of breast tissue that remains, the availability of ‘donor site’ tissue, as well as your age and health. 

What steps do I take? 

As with any medical procedure, getting breast surgery contains risks. It’s important to discuss these with your trusted cosmetic surgeon in detail before making the decision. Esteem’s doctors have extensive experience performing restorative breast surgery and will be able to talk you through any questions or concerns. Get in touch with us to arrange a consultation.


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