There are numerous reasons why women who have undergone breast reconstruction following breast cancer return to the plastic surgeon’s office months or even years later in search of revision surgery. It may be that they are displeased with the appearance of their breasts or have experienced issues that require small or sizeable corrections. The board-certified plastic surgeons at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery in Huntington, NY are skilled experts in improving the overall look and feel of a patient’s breasts that require revision surgery of some type.
Reasons for breast revision surgery
Over time, it is not unusual for changes to occur in reconstructed breasts. During autologous reconstruction, fat, skin, and muscles are grafted from other areas of the body, including the stomach, buttocks, and thighs, to build the breasts. Similar to natural breasts, those crafted in this manner may gradually begin to droop and sag as women age and gain weight. Meanwhile, Long Island patients who received saline implants may notice a rippling of the skin. Implants also can begin to feel overly firm and uncomfortable, or become displaced and structurally compromised.
For most mastectomy and breast reconstruction patients, the decision to undergo revision surgery usually is made in an effort to either fix or further enhance the outcome of a previous reconstruction. Patients who have one reconstructed breast may opt for surgery in hopes of making both of their breasts appear similar in size and shape. Others turn to revision surgery as a way to remedy undesired side effects of reconstruction, such as the development of scar tissue. Revision surgery can be employed to tackle many conditions and concerns.
Revision surgery options
The board-certified plastic surgeons at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery in Huntington, NY are extremely knowledgeable about a wide range of breast reconstruction revision solutions. Experts in the field, they have vast experience performing these surgeries. In most cases, it is possible for Long Island patients to undergo a revision surgery as early as three months after their initial reconstruction surgery.
The size and shape of things
To begin most revision surgeries, patients are placed under anesthesia. The surgery site is cleaned, sterilized and marked. If it is possible to do so, the surgeon will make an incision in the same spot as the one that was used to perform the prior breast reconstruction procedure. With patients who had one breast reconstructed, the goal of revision surgery may be to make both breasts appear more symmetrical. This may call for the removal of fat tissue from the healthy breast as part of a breast reduction. This will decrease its overall size so that it is comparable to the other breast and may also allow the nipple and areola to remain unaltered. Otherwise, fat harvested from the healthy breast can be purified and injected into the affected breast to create a fuller, more contoured, symmetrical look. This also can be accomplished by extracting and injecting fat cells collected from other areas of the body through liposuction.
In patients who have experienced capsular contracture, revision surgery can be quite involved. This often painful condition causes scar tissue to grow and harden around a breast implant. As a result, the breast may become unnaturally firm and oddly shaped. Not only must the scar tissue be removed, in most cases so must the implant. Once several small incisions are made, the scar tissue is separated from surrounding tissue to lessen tension in the area. After the scar tissue and implant are removed, a new implant is placed before the incision is closed.
The ripple effect of saline implants
Rippling, when the edges of the breast implant show through the skin, is a common occurrence that often prompts patients with saline breast implants to undergo revision surgery. Liposuction can be used to transfer fat from other areas of the body into the breast to improve or eliminate the appearance of rippling. However, this is not always an option for slender women may who lack the extra fat to donate. In such instances, older implants may be swapped out for newer, more innovative implants made of cohesive silicone gel. Gummy bear implants are another option recognized for their ability to mimic the breast’s natural teardrop shape. It also can be beneficial to support implants with acellular dermal matrix, a natural soft tissue substitute.
The recovery process
As with breast reconstruction surgery, women should allow themselves plenty of time to recover from revision surgery. Most patients report that the procedure usually is less painful than reconstructive surgery. However, it is normal to experience some tenderness, swelling, and discomfort, which can be alleviated with prescription medications. The wearing of a surgical bra for several weeks will help speed up the healing process. It may be a week or more before patients are able to return to work. Rigorous exercise, as well as heavy lifting, must be avoided for up to six weeks. It may be six months before the swelling completely subsides. After this time, the full results of the revision surgery should be evident.
For Long Island-area women who are dissatisfied with the results of their breast reconstruction surgery, or who grapple with the adverse side effects that have resulted from a previous surgery, revision surgery may be beneficial. A lack of breast symmetry, excessive amounts of painful scar tissue, and implant failure are among the conditions that can be addressed and corrected by the board-certified plastic surgeons at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery in Huntington, NY. Contact our office to discover how revision surgery can have you looking and feeling your best once again.