Restore the Appearance of Your Breasts at Brampton Plastic Surgery

In most cases, women seek breast surgeries to enhance, reduce or reshape the bust and accentuate their natural curves. But some women need a different kind of breast surgery for another reason — to protect their health and stop the spread of breast cancer. While a mastectomy can greatly improve treatment outcomes after a breast cancer diagnosis, removing one or both breasts can make you feel like a stranger in your own body. The breasts are a hallmark of femininity, and losing them is difficult for most women.

But thanks to recent advances in plastic surgery techniques, breasts that have been surgically removed can now be reconstructed to restore your feminine contours. Using different methods, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Catherine Haywood can resculpt one or both breasts to achieve a natural look that helps you feel healthy and whole again, minimizing the emotional toll of your breast cancer experience.

Breast Reconstruction — What is It?

Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure that uses breast implants or existing body tissues to restore the size and shape of the breasts after a mastectomy. Some women may choose to have their breasts removed if they have the BRCA gene and are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer, while others may need one or both breasts removed as part of a breast cancer treatment plan. Depending on your diagnosis, a lumpectomy can also be used to remove part of the affected breast, but reconstructive surgery may still be needed to restore a proportionate appearance.

Whether you’ve had a mastectomy to treat or prevent breast cancer, breast reconstruction surgery can help you regain your confidence and improve your self-image. While your new breasts may not look exactly the same as they once did, Dr. Haywood can deliver results that closely resemble your original contours so you can start to feel like yourself again.

When to Consider Breast Reconstruction

Most women undergo breast reconstruction not long after a mastectomy, but reconstructive surgery can also take place years down the road. Sometimes, it is even possible to coordinate procedures and reconstruct the breasts immediately after the initial cancer surgery. For example, once the oncologist removes the affected breast, Dr. Haywood can reconstruct the missing tissue during the same surgery. While convenient, having a mastectomy and breast reconstruction performed at the same time can only be done if it does not jeopardize your health or compromise future breast cancer treatments. Generally speaking, the right timing for reconstructive surgery will vary depending on the patient, and certain factors can influence if or when you decide to restore your breasts.

Before & After
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How is Breast Reconstruction Done?

Breast reconstruction can be done in a few different ways, and the technique that’s right for you will depend on factors like the degree of correction needed, whether you’ve had one or both breasts removed, and your desired results. The two primary types of reconstructive surgery use either your own natural tissues or foreign materials such as a breast implant.

During the consultation process, Dr. Haywood will examine your remaining breast tissue and review your medical history to recommend an approach that’s most suited to your needs and preferences. Each has its pros and cons, but a history of radiation treatments, your body shape and previous abdominal surgery are the most important considerations when deciding on the type of reconstruction that will be performed.

Breast Reconstruction with Implants

Reconstructing your breasts with implants is an effective way to restore beautiful, proportionate contours that flatter your natural curves. This option lets you choose from silicone implants in a range of shapes and sizes and is ideal for women who have had one or both breasts removed. Breast reconstruction with implants can be done at the same time as your mastectomy (immediate reconstruction), or at some point afterward (delayed reconstruction).

Immediate reconstruction is a single-stage procedure that has the advantage of fewer surgeries and less scarring, and it can ease the emotional impact of losing your breasts since you’ll never have to see yourself without them. This approach isn’t always possible, however, especially in patients who are still undergoing radiation treatments that can damage the tissue surrounding an implant. In some cases, your surgeon can begin the reconstruction process by inserting a tissue expander instead, which helps the breast retain its shape without interfering with ongoing cancer treatments.

If you opt for delayed reconstruction, you’ll have more time to consider your options and choose the look that’s right for you, but your procedure will likely require the use of a tissue expander in a two-stage process. A tissue expander is a temporary device used to stretch the skin and chest muscles over the course of several weeks, preparing the breasts for implant placement. Once the breasts are ready, a second surgery is scheduled to remove the expander and replace it with a permanent implant.

Breast Reconstruction with Natural Tissues

Known as autologous tissue transfer or a flap procedure, this technique uses your own fat, skin or muscle to reconstruct the breasts after a mastectomy. The most common donor site is the abdomen, where Dr. Haywood will take excess tissues and transfer them to the chest to resculpt the breasts. This approach lets patients avoid the use of synthetic materials and recreates a natural breast feel, but candidates must have enough donor tissue in the lower abdomen. Previous abdominal surgeries can also affect the ability to have a flap procedure performed, since it involves taking muscle from the area.

Compared to using implants, reconstructing the breasts with your own tissues provides a more natural result and has the added benefit of sculpting a more contoured stomach. The downside is a longer recovery period, but many women prefer this option because it lowers the risk of potential complications and doesn’t require any upkeep or replacement. Autologous tissue transfers are also less likely to interfere with future cancer treatments.

Which Technique is Right for Me?

Breast reconstruction is a highly customized procedure that can be tailored to your needs and preferences, and the technique that’s right for you will depend on these and other factors. The timing of your procedure, your overall health, whether your mastectomy was done to prevent or treat cancer, and any ongoing treatments will play a role in determining the best approach for achieving your aesthetic goals. During your consultation, Dr. Haywood will review your medical history and help you explore your options in more detail, taking the time to develop a personalized treatment plan just for you.

Dr. Haywood may also recommend additional surgeries for optimal results, including nipple and areola reconstruction, a breast lift, or balancing procedures (breast augmentation or breast reduction) to help ensure that your breasts are closely matched in shape and size. Compared to having each of these procedures performed separately, combining them condenses your recovery into a single period and can help lower costs by saving on certain fees.

Breast Reconstruction Recovery

Your recovery timeline will vary depending on which technique was used, if tissue expanders were inserted and whether your reconstruction was immediate or delayed. That being said, you can expect some pain and discomfort in your chest following surgery, but this can typically be managed with pain medication and plenty of rest. Bandages, gauze or compression garments will be used to reduce any swelling, and surgical drains may be inserted to remove any excess fluid.

As your breasts recover, you should expect to take some time off from work and avoid any strenuous activities that could strain the area as it heals. Dr. Haywood will provide you with detailed post-op instructions so you’ll know what to expect after your surgery and schedule follow-up visits to check on your progress. Following her directions and coming to your appointments will ensure a smooth recovery, but she will be available to address any questions or concerns you may have in the meantime. You’ll also have access to home care services to help with changing dressings or anything else you need after your surgery.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q&A With Dr. Catherine Haywood
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Get More Information

For more information or support, Dr. Haywood strongly supports and recommends that you visit the Canadian Cancer Society and Canadian Collaboration on Breast Reconstruction websites, which were developed for women considering breast reconstruction surgery.

For more detailed insights, schedule your consultation at Brampton Plastic Surgery today. As each situation and case is different, meeting with Dr. Haywood is the best way to discuss the specifics of your procedure or get answers to your questions. We know that it’s important to feel comfortable with your surgeon before moving forward, and our goal is to ensure that you’re ready to begin this part of your journey with confidence.

If you’re in the Brampton, Mississauga, or greater Toronto area, contact or call us today at 905-451-2285 to learn more about breast reconstruction surgery and how it can help restore your feminine curves after a single or double mastectomy. We look forward to hearing from you!