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The breasts of a woman have a significant role to play in making her feel confident and happy. If one's breasts are too big, she may feel embarrassed. On the other hand, if the breasts are too small, she may feel insecure and self-conscious (Edwards; Miller Cosmetic Surgery). Thus, breasts of the right shape and size could do wonders to a woman's self-esteem and confidence (Miller Cosmetic Surgery).
Breast reconstruction surgery provides solutions to these issues. Breast reconstruction is defined as a "field of plastic surgery in which the goal of surgery is to provide the patient with two balanced and symmetrical breasts (Wanzel and Brown)." Breast reconstruction surgery is often made available to women whose breasts had been removed due to breast cancer or those whose breasts underwent abnormal development (Wanzel and Brown).
Plastic surgery of the breasts could also consist of either a breast augmentation, breast lift, or breast reduction. The first one is recommended for women with shrunk or underdeveloped breasts. Some women have shrunk breasts after child bearing. Thus, these women resort to breast augmentation to increase breast size where exercise is not enough (Miller Cosmetic Surgery).
On the other hand, the breast lift is recommended for women who suffer from sagging and flattened breasts as a result of weight gain or loss, pregnancy, breast-feeding, or gravity. Through plastic surgery or breast lift, the breasts could get firmer and shapelier and give the appearance of youth (Miller Cosmetic Surgery).
Finally, breast reduction is recommended for women who consider big breasts their problem. Physically, having big breasts could give the appearance of being fat or top heavy, which may not be pleasing to some. Moreover, big breasts are heavy to bear, which could affect a woman’s posture and proper breathing. Big breasts could also cause pain, backache, and difficulty in moving. Psychologically, big breasts could ruin a woman’s self-esteem, especially if she is a constant subject of ridicule, unwelcome attention, stares, and rude comments (Miller Cosmetic Surgery).
In surgical breast reconstruction, there are generally two methods that could be used by a plastic surgeon to achieve results. The plastic surgeon could use either breast implants or autologous tissue to reconstruct the breasts. The choice in using one or both methods depends on various factors, such as general health status, breast cancer prognosis, and patient's age. Moreover, the preferences of both the patient and surgeon also matter. Finally, the use of living tissue would also depend on the availability of a suitable donor tissue (Wanzel and Brown).
A breast implant like me was a popular choice in breast reconstruction prior to the advent of living tissue breast reconstruction (Brown; Wanzel and Brown). To date, I am still a very viable option for women wanting to have the surgical procedure (Wanzel and Brown).
I often replace a mammary tissue after a mastectomy is conducted on a woman diagnosed with breast cancer, or when her breasts are removed (Wanzel and Brown).
Breast reconstruction could occur immediately after mastectomy, which means that the plastic surgeon could use spare skin envelope coming from the removed breast, which enables breast reconstruction without the need for tissue expansion. The plastic surgeon could then place me and cover me with the saved skin, and making the new breasts appear natural (Wanzel and Brown).
The amount of skin removed during a mastectomy depends on factors such as the location of the biopsy scar and tumor size. In a given scenario where the mastectomy already removed a significant amount of skin from the breast skin, there is a need to use tissue expanders before I am placed on a woman's body. In order to still achieve natural looking breasts and to improve the circulation and healing ability of the skin after mastectomy, tissue expansion is first required in order to allow the remaining breast skin to expand. Through tissue expanders, the remaining skin is stretched in preparation for my arrival. This process could take place either during or after mastectomy (Wanzel and Brown).
The process involves the placement if an inflatable object in its collapsed form inside the pocket of the skin. The expander is then inflated through the slow introduction of fluid, which allows the skin to loosen and stabilize around the expander. After about six to twelve weeks, the expander is removed and I am permanently inserted into the pocket under the skin. The final result depends on the choices made by the patient and surgeon as to my texture, size and shape. For example, breast implants are of two shapes: anatomical and round. The patient could choose either, but round implants are cheaper because the anatomical ones, which are shaped more like real breasts, are more difficult to put in and are more expensive (Wanzel and Brown).
I could also come as an expandable breast implant, and the procedure is similar to the placement of tissue expanders in the skin. This procedure, which has only been developed recently, only involves a one-staged procedure. The device is inserted only once (Wanzel and Brown).
In most cases, I am implanted on the mastectomy site to avoid the creation of new scars. Before the surgery, the patient would be given either general anesthesia or intravenous sedation, whichever might be best to provide her comfort during the procedure (American Society of Plastic Surgeons).
Recovery time for women ranges from three to four weeks, although one week may be enough for them to resume regular, non-strenuous activities. After surgery, there is a need to apply gauze or bandages on the incisions. Moreover, a support bra or bandage is needed to support the new breast and minimize swelling. A final note must be made, to the effect that breast reconstruction surgery through the insertion of implants has risks, such as implant rupture and lack of breast firmness (Wanzel and Brown).
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