Breast Reconstruction

Breast Reconstruction surgery is performed after someone has had part or all of the breast removed due to breast cancer. This can be done combined with the cancer surgery (immediate) or months to years after (delayed). Dr. Street only performs implant-based reconstruction. We also often use fat grafting, which is fat taken from the belly with liposuction and placed back into the breasts.

Anesthesia: General
Operative Time: 1-2 hours
Incisions: Based on the cancer surgery incisions
Drains: Yes; 1-2 drains
Recovery Timeline:

  • 1 week – Suture removal; Typical time off work
  • 2 weeks – Drain removal
  • 3 weeks – Resume low-impact exercise
  • 6 weeks – Resume all exercise without restrictions
  • 3 months – Majority of swelling gone and wounds 90% strong
  • 1 year – Final healing

*Please note that each patient and case is unique. Nothing in surgery is a guarantee. Please talk with Dr. Street more in person about your individualized surgical plan. All general anesthesia is performed by a board-certified anesthesiologist.

FAQs

What is the difference between immediate and delayed reconstruction?
Immediate reconstruction happens at the time of the mastectomy. This may be done in one stage or in two stages, depending on the breast. Delayed reconstruction is when a woman gets a mastectomy and heals from that operation and we go back later to start the reconstruction process.
What is autologous reconstruction?
Autologous means making the breast from your own tissue. This can be done in a variety of ways but most commonly is from the belly skin and fat. Dr. Street does not perform these types of reconstructions and you would need referral to a large center. They are longer surgeries with a longer hospital stay. However, they can make a beautiful reconstruction and do not require the use of implants, which some patients like.
Do I need surgery on the non-cancer side?
Frequently when patients have a one-sided mastectomy, they want surgery on the opposite side to try to make the breasts match more. We can never obtain perfect symmetry, but there are various techniques to improve the way the breasts match. Most often, surgery on the opposite side is done at the second reconstructive operation.
Is all implant-based reconstruction two stages?
Most implant-based reconstruction is done is two stages. The first stage is placing a tissue expander at the time of the mastectomy. This is a stiff, temporary implant made to create room for a final implant. After 3-4 months of the expansion process, a second surgery is required to replace the tissue expander with a soft, permanent implant. Often we are doing surgery to the opposite side at this time. In rare cases, we can place the final implant immediately at the time of mastectomy surgery. If this is an option, we will discuss this during the consultation and preoperative visits.