Ask expert breast reconstruction microsurgeon, Dr. Joshua Levine your questions:
Do you have questions about breast reconstruction surgery? If you’re making decisions about reconstruction, you may be seeking answers and guidance. Breast surgeon, Dr. Joshua Levine, a pioneer in the field of perforator flaps, answers common questions about breast reconstruction. You can also call our office at The Center for Reconstruction located in New York, New York with questions, and schedule a private, in-person consultation. Submit your questions using our contact form here.
The breast reconstruction patient is involved in a process that may involve other surgeries and/or breast cancer treatments. Therefore the timeline may vary depending on the nature of the patient’s individual situation. Below is a general overview of a typical timeline related to the breast reconstruction.
Step 1: Initial Surgery
Women seeking prophylactic mastectomy will typically undergo mastectomy and breast reconstruction at the same time (simultaneous). If both breasts are being reconstructed along with the mastectomies, the procedure will take around 6 hours, depending on which reconstructive procedure is being done. The patient is in the hospital 4-5 days for recovery and to monitor blood flow to the transferred tissue. After discharge the patient will typically be able to shower, walk up and down stairs, and generally recover with minimal requirement for help or pain medication. Patients are asked to refrain from heavy lifting and rigorous activity for one month. After one month there are no restrictions. If the patient is being treated for cancer, there may be other issues affecting the timeline, like chemo or radiation therapy.
After recovery there will typically be one more small surgery either to reconstruct nipples, refine or revise the breast reconstruction, and/or refine or revise the donor site. This surgery is usually about 3 months after the breast reconstruction.
Patients having nipple sparing mastectomy (NSM) will not require nipple reconstruction, but may require minor revision surgery weeks or months after breast reconstruction. Patients who have had skin sparing mastectomy (SSM) will be offered nipple reconstruction at about three months after breast reconstruction. A reconstructed nipple is typically tattooed about 6 weeks after nipple reconstruction.
The Center For Breast Reconstruction is entirely committed to perforator flap breast reconstruction. We actively support patients in every way, from handling all insurance and travel needs and surgical and medical needs. We are with the patient every step of the way in order to ease the journey as much as possible.