Get Your Breast Reconstruction Questions Answered
Even if you think you are prepared for breast reconstruction surgery, more often than not, you will still have questions for your surgeon. This is very understandable, since patients are normally taking a lot and are feeling stressed during that period.
Be sure to ask your questions before you leave the hospital. To help our patients, we have compiled some of the common questions of our patients along with their corresponding answers. Read on.
Q. I have implants. Can I undergo DIEP flap surgery years later? How about nipple reconstruction? Can this be preserved?
A. Of course. We have had a lot of patients who have implants replaced with their own tissue through DIEP flap surgery years later. Patients may want this for a number of reasons, which includes capsular contracture. In this case, the tissue surrounding the implant becomes uncomfortable and tight. Some patients may not like the size, feel, shape, or the position of the implant. When this happens, the capsular contracture as well as the implant may be taken off and replaced with the patient’s own (and healthy) fatty tissue, while sparing the muscles in the abdominal area with DIEP flap. If a patient underwent nipple reconstruction in the past, it can normally be preserved.
Q: Is there an age limit for DIEP flap surgery?
A: DIEP flap surgery doesn’t have a specific age cutoff. Surgeons evaluate every patient independently. Based on their overall health, we determine if breast reconstruction surgery is a safe option for them. We have had patients in their 60s or 70s and have performed breast reconstruction surgery with excellent outcomes. Before the procedure, we discuss the patient’s medical history with our team of surgeons, nurses, and anesthesiologist. Should there be concerns, we advise our patient to see their primary doctor to address their particular health issue first to ensure that the surgery is as safe as possible.
Q: Can fat grafting and DIEP flap be performed at the same time?
A: Most surgeons perform the DIEP flap surgery first, then allow some time for the patient to recover and heal. Then the surgeon evaluates the projection and volume of the breast. It is possible that the reconstructed breast might need a breast lift which will enhance the breast’s projection, making it appear more youthful and full. During this time, fat grafting may be used to smooth out any irregularities in contour and to add volume, giving the best possible result.
Do you have additional questions about breast reconstruction surgery? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!