It is not unusual for patients who have undergone breast reconstruction following a battle with breast cancer to need or desire revision surgery later. Changes can be made to improve or enhance the appearance of reconstructed breasts. Corrections may be necessary to address the development of scar tissue and other side effects of reconstruction. It is also possible to alter the shape and size of the natural breast so that it appears more symmetrical to the reconstructed breast.
It is vitally important to select a highly skilled and experienced plastic surgeon who is able to achieve excellent outcomes. The board-certified plastic surgeons at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery in Huntington, NY, offer advice to Long Island patients as they begin their search.
Know why you want or need revision surgery
In most cases, revision surgery is considered in order to address issues that develop after reconstruction surgery. If you experience pain, your breast implant becomes displaced, such as with a rare condition called symmastia, or if the size of your breasts is not well balanced, a revision may be in order.
Implants can be replaced in order to improve the feel and appearance of the breast. Keep in mind that the longer an implant is in place, the greater the chance of experiencing complications becomes. A common side effect called capsular contracture happens when the scar tissue that forms around the implant becomes hard and squeezes on the device, causing breast pain and an unusual appearance. It is also possible for implants to rupture or for extrusion, a condition in which the implant becomes exposed through the skin, to occur. Both would require that the implant be removed. However, unless a problem arises, you likely will not need to replace your breast implants.
Complications also can result following autologous reconstruction, when a “flap” of tissue is harvested from another area of the body, such as the stomach, buttocks or thigh, in order to reconstruct the breast. This tissue, along with fat and the skin of the breast, runs the risk of dying.
Other reasons that patients in the Long Island area seek out Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery for breast revision surgery include those who have had undergone radiation therapy, which impacted the results of their initial reconstruction surgery. Or patients who are displeased with the results of their nipple reconstruction from breast reconstruction surgery.
Do your research
It takes a well-trained and highly skilled plastic surgeon to create excellent revision surgery results. Consult with others who have previously undergone the procedure and ask them to share the name of their surgeon and their experience with him or her. Question them about the specifics of their surgery and, if given the opportunity, what they would have done differently. Check the websites of breast cancer support groups in the Long Island area for breast revision and reconstruction plastic surgeon recommendations. Remember that revision surgery also may be referred to as “corrective surgery,” “redo construction,” or “revised reconstruction.”
Preparing for a consultation
Once armed with the names of several plastic surgeons, visit the websites of their practices. Here you are likely to find information about the surgeon’s medical training and experience as well as details about the procedures in which they specialize. If you are comfortable with one or more surgeons’ qualifications, schedule consultations. During these appointments, you will be able to pose questions that you may have about the surgery.
Be sure you ask how many revision surgeries he or she performs on a monthly or annual basis. The more experience, the better. The challenges posed by revision surgery are very different than those encountered during breast augmentations or initial reconstruction surgery. Having performed numerous revisions helps to ensure that the plastic surgeon is familiar with a variety of conditions and is knowledgeable about how to correct them.
Ask to see before-and-after photos
A reputable plastic surgeon will invite you to view before-and-after photos of their work. Do not pass up the opportunity to do so. Pay close attention to photos of patients who underwent revision surgery for the same reasons that you will, as well as those whose torso is similar in size to yours. This will lend insight into how the surgeon handles such cases and allow you to evaluate the type of outcomes they typically are able to achieve.
Revision risks and timing
Board-certified plastic surgeons such as those at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery in Huntington, NY, will address any risks associated with breast revision surgery, as well as give you a good idea about the type of aesthetic results that may be achieved. For most Long Island patients, the risks associated with revisions are similar to those of reconstruction surgery. These may include scarring, a loss of skin, the development of infection, adverse reactions to anesthesia, and problems with proper wound healing. Those who smoke or have medical conditions including bleeding disorders, diabetes, or circulatory problems may experience a longer recovery time than others.
It may take a few months for swelling associated with a revision surgery to subside. During this time, the breasts can look imbalanced. However, that should eventually improve. When reconstructive surgery has recently been completed, some patients, including those who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment, may be advised to delay their revision surgery until they are well healed. At that point, the need for the procedure will be assessed and a decision about whether to proceed can be made with confidence.
The costs associated with revision surgeries usually are covered by health insurance. However, in order to receive approval, it may be necessary for you or your surgeon’s office to consult directly with your insurance provider to explain why your surgery is medically necessary, rather than desired for cosmetic reasons. It also is important to learn whether your surgeon accepts health insurance since some cosmetic surgery practices do not.
When considering breast revision surgery, it is of the utmost importance to secure a highly trained and experienced plastic surgeon who specializes in corrective procedures. The board-certified surgeons at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery in Huntington, NY encourage patients to do their homework in order to receive the best possible outcome. Contact our office and schedule a consultation to learn how this transformative surgery may benefit you.