Breast Reconstruction in Jupiter, FL
Women lose their breasts or experience dramatic changes in one or both breasts for a variety of reasons related to illness or injury. Cancer is one of the most common causes of breast loss. Women might need to have one or both breasts removed to treat breast cancer or to prevent its spread. Some women experience scars and dimples after the aspiration or removal of non-cancerous cysts. Car accidents and other trauma can cause a wide range of damage to the chest. Breast shrinkage, skin and/or nipple changes also occur because of changing hormones, severe illness, and rapid weight loss. Kim Edward Koger, M.D., F.A.C.S., a board-certified plastic surgeon, helps female patients restore a natural appearance to their breasts through breast reconstruction surgery.
If You’re Considering Breast Reconstruction
The positive effects of breast reconstruction surgery have been well-documented in medical and scientific journals. Restoring a woman’s breasts helps restore her physical and emotional health. As a result, it is incredibly important that breast reconstruction is performed quickly after a major event. Especially after a woman fights cancer or another serious illness or overcomes some other immense obstacle, like surviving a severe car accident. The increase of breast cancer awareness and continued research has helped improve surgical techniques for breast reconstruction. It has also made it possible for experienced surgeons to have more precise tools available to them to reshape women’s chests. These techniques and tools help create realistic, natural-looking breasts that can make any woman feel whole.
The two categories of breast reconstruction are tissue expander/implant reconstruction and autologous reconstruction. With tissue expander/implant reconstruction a balloon device is placed under the chest skin and muscle at the anatomic position of the native breast mound. During several office visits over the following few weeks fluid is added to the expander balloon creating added breast skin envelope necessary for a natural breast shape. Once enough tissue is created the expander balloon is replaced with a permanent breast implant. After Dr. Koger positions the implant, he typically performs one last procedure to recreate natural features, such as the areola and nipple.
Autologous reconstruction uses the patient’s own tissue to provide volume for the reconstructed breast mound. The lower abdominal skin and fatty tissue, a TRAM flap, is most commonly used for autologous reconstruction. During your consultation, Dr. Koger will discuss the various reconstruction techniques and options with you in detail.
Although autologous flap reconstruction can make the chest and abdomen appear more natural and slim, the procedure is more complicated than tissue expansion reconstruction because it involves surgery on more than one area of the body. Multiple surgical sites can also take more time to heal.
Recent advances in surgical techniques now allows the majority of the breast skin envelope to be preserved during a mastectomy. A skin sparring mastectomy greatly aids in the reconstructive process and helps to provide a more natural result.
The Best Candidates for Breast Reconstruction
Although breast reconstruction can obviously be beneficial to women who have suffered breast loss or change, it isn’t the best overall or immediate solution for every patient. One potential problem that some women face is that they don’t have enough tissue on their chests to support reconstruction. This issue is an extremely rare occurrence since many modern techniques have been designed to work with limited tissue. Another problem that is specific to cancer patients is that a patient’s oncologist might not approve of reconstruction because of concerns about cancer recurrence.
Again, these issues are rare. Most women are able to have immediate breast reconstruction without any difficulties. Surgical delays usually only happen if you have high blood pressure, you’re overweight, or you smoke. You might also have to wait if your surgeon finds that the skin and tissues on your chest aren’t strong enough or need pre-surgery treatment.
Dr. Koger will go over all of the available options with you to help you to make an informed decision.
Planning Your Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Breast reconstruction surgery involves complex planning that takes into account a variety of factors, including the cause of breast loss or change, the type of chest alteration and your current health. The timing of reconstruction surgery depends greatly on these factors. For example, if you have a mastectomy, the optimal time to perform the reconstructive procedure is usually the same day right after the mastectomy, referred to as Immediate reconstruction may yield a more natural result, reduce costs and reduce overall healing time. Of course, sometimes there are factors which prevent surgeons from performing both mastectomy and the reconstructive procedure on the same day. In those cases, the reconstruction is performed later on a delayed basis.
Dr. Koger will examine your breasts during your initial consultation. If you qualify for surgery, he will outline the pros and cons of the reconstructive options that he believes are best for your situation as based on your goals, medical history, breast loss or change and current health. He will also outline the advantages and/or disadvantages of the immediate and delayed reconstruction options based on your specific situation.
Preparing for Your Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Breast reconstruction surgery success requires that all of your doctors are in clear communication with each other. Once you make a decision to move forward with surgery, Dr. Koger will consult with your other doctors as needed, to help aid him in designing the best plan possible. He will then discuss the procedure in more detail and answer all your questions. He will also outline a custom schedule for you that covers everything from pre-surgery preparation to after-surgery care.
Dr. Koger will provide you with a thorough list of different types of restrictions. He might advise you to stop taking certain prescription or over-the-counter medications and/or supplements for a specific period of time before and after surgery.
Types of Anesthesia
Please inform Dr. Koger if you’ve had any past reactions to anesthesia or other medications. We use general anesthesia during the surgery. If Dr. Koger must perform follow-up procedures, we use general or local anesthesia as dictated by the type of procedure and the time it typically takes to complete that type of procedure.
Types of Breast Implants
If your surgery involves breast implants, Dr. Koger recommends silicone and/or saline silicone shell implants in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Dr. Koger will explain the differences between these implant designs and go over the various pros and cons of using each type with you.
Breast reconstruction doesn’t immediately create a natural look. Dr. Koger must often perform additional, less extensive procedures to refine the overall chest appearance. These procedures might involve repositioning the areola or tightening the skin in spots. If your initial procedure involves one breast, Dr. Koger might perform a procedure such as a lift, augmentation or reduction on the other breast to make both breasts appear symmetrical.
After Your Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Breast reconstruction is usually not an outpatient procedure. You should expect to stay in the hospital for at least a few days. Dr. Koger will provide you with a prescription for pain medication and antibiotics that help with the healing process. Soreness and fatigue can last an additional two weeks or longer depending on the extent of the surgery and the amount of rest you get afterward. If you have a drain, Dr. Koger will remove it along with any sutures within the first two weeks.
As previously noted, Dr. Koger provides guidance before and after surgery so that you are made fully aware of the steps you must take to heal properly, including restrictions you must follow while healing, such as exercise, sexual activity, and work restrictions.
How Much Does Breast Reconstruction Cost?
Many insurance carriers cover breast reconstruction costs related to disease, illness, and injury. The only costs that your insurance company might not cover are those attached to follow-up work done on a healthy breast to make it match a reconstructed one.
Our office also accepts cash, personal checks, and most major credit cards. Additionally, we offer CareCredit® financing options to help make breast reconstruction more accessible to everyone.
Getting Back to Normal
People heal at different rates. Many women that have a full mastectomy and reconstruction heal over multiple weeks. Obviously, this timeframe can be shorter or longer. Immediate reconstructive procedures and implant reconstruction often take less time to heal than flap reconstruction.
Please keep in mind that reconstructed breasts don’t feel the same as natural ones. Patients often note that their tissue feels firmer. The shape of reconstructed breasts also differs from a patient’s original breasts. Lastly, surgical scars take up to a year to fade from pink to less noticeable flesh tones.
It’s important to keep in mind that although you can’t turn the clock back to the life you once knew, you can move forward and feel normal again. It takes time, patience and acceptance.
Your New Look
Whether cancer or some other event has transformed your chest, you don’t have to lose your sense of self because of it. You can feel normal again. Women in Wellington, Vero Beach or anywhere in Palm Beach County, can now contact Kim Edward Koger, M.D., F.A.C.S. and his experienced and caring team at Koger Cosmetic Clinic & Medspa in Jupiter, FL to learn more about breast reconstruction today!