Breast Reconstruction

A woman’s breasts are a vital piece of her feminine identity, so when they are disfigured or removed to treat cancer or other medical issues, the impact on both your physical and emotional well-being can be significant. At Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC, Dr. Franziska Huettner is sensitive to the effects that these types of changes to your breasts can have on your quality of life, which is why she is proud to offer breast reconstruction surgery. With her vast experience as a double board certified Plastic Surgeon she offers many different options for the breast reconstruction process, and is eager to find the methods that is right for you. If you’ve undergone a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, or are scheduled to, it may be overwhelming to navigate everything that comes along with a procedure like that. You and your doctor have most likely discussed breast reconstruction options, and gone over what may be your best course of action.

Even if you are just thinking about it or already have made your decision to go forward with breast reconstruction, visit Dr. Huettner for a consultation. Since she is board certified in general and in Plastic surgery she is fully aware of the entire breast reconstruction process. If you are in the process of undergoing treatment for cancer, or will be at the time of your reconstruction surgery, she will also coordinate with your oncologist, so that she is fully aware of your established treatment plan and medical needs. This helps to ensure that all parties involved can work together to provide you with the best possible results and a safe and successful breast reconstruction surgery. Breast reconstruction is a team approach, and Dr. Huettner at Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC sees it at a privilege to be part of this team caring for breast cancer patients.

Breast Reconstruction Options

Breast reconstruction surgery comes with a few options - it can be performed during your mastectomy surgery or after, or it can be completed once you’ve finished your treatment and recovery. The reconstruction technique that you and Dr. Huettner select will determine whether you will undergo surgery immediately to begin the reconstruction process, or whether the surgeries will be done in stages. Other factors in your decision will include your treatment plan and overall health, which is why Dr. Huettner will want to consult with your oncologist and any other doctors involved in your treatment.

There are two basic types of reconstruction techniques, often performed with variations:

  • Implant Reconstruction
    Implant reconstruction is similar to a typical breast augmentation procedure, in which silicone or saline implants are placed, most often under your pectoral muscles, to rebuild and reshape your breasts. Implant reconstruction can also be done in one step or utilizing a staged approach, depending on your body and your needs. Often a temporary device, called tissue expander might need to be placed, before the permanent implant will be inserted.
  • Fat grafting
    Sometimes in the case of a smaller contour defect from for instance a lumpectomy Dr. Huettner can utilize the fat-grafting technique. During that Dr. Huettner suctiones fat from unwanted areas of your body, like you belly or legs and injects it into different areas of your breast to restore the shape and volume of your breast.
  • Composite reconstruction
    The insertion of the permanent implant (silicone /saline)
  • Autologous Reconstruction
    Commonly referred to as the “flap,” this technique uses skin, fat and even muscle tissue from a donor site on your body (most often your abdomen or back) to create and shape a new breast. Depending on your desired results and treatment plan, you may also decide to get breast implants placed at the same time as your flap surgery in order to complete your new breast contour all at one time.

The method of breast reconstruction that you select will be based on several factors, including your body type, what stage of treatment you’re in, how your body is responding and healing, and your expectations for the outcome of your reconstruction surgery. For example, if you don’t have a lot of excess body fat, flap reconstruction may not be your best option, as you might not have enough usable tissue for a successful graft. In other cases, implant reconstruction may not be the right treatment for you if you’ve undergone radiation, because radiation damages your skin, making it thinner and more susceptible to tearing, which is difficult when you need to stretch the skin to accommodate an implant. Again, the reconstruction technique you choose will be something that you will discuss with Dr. Huettner and your medical team, so that the potential for adverse effects or unsatisfactory results can be planned for and avoided.

What to Expect After Your Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Your timeline for recovery will be contingent upon the method of reconstruction that you choose. Whether your reconstruction is performed in one procedure or in stages, it is essential that you allow your body to rest and heal completely. No matter which technique is used, Dr. Huettner will provide you with detailed instructions for post-surgery care, and continue to monitor your progress with follow-up appointments.

While the aesthetic results of your breast reconstruction are a vital part of the overall process, more importantly, it is essential that you have realistic expectations for each step, from the surgery to the hoped-for outcomes. Ideally, breast reconstruction surgery will help to restore balance, shapeliness and symmetry to your breasts. However, be prepared for differences, such as a different look and feel, or lack of sensation, which may take time to get used to. Dr. Huettner is highly trained and specializes in breast surgery, so she will utilize her skills and experience in reconstructive surgery to restore your confidence, as well as renew your feeling of wholeness, both physically and emotionally.

We are here to help

If you have had or are planning to have a lumpectomy, mastectomy or other treatment that changes the appearance of your breasts, and want to explore your breast reconstruction options, let Dr. Huettner help you navigate through all of your options. Call Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC today at 212-495-9200 to schedule a consultation.

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