Many choices have to be made following the diagnosis of breast cancer. Beyond the decision whether to have a mastectomy or lumpectomy on the affected breast, you may need to decide on prophylactic treatment for the contralateral breast. You will also have the choice to have your breasts reconstructed immediately following mastectomy. Dr. Mukerji is able to guide you through your available choices as well as working with your general surgeon to make the overwhelming process of making these difficult decisions as easy for you as possible.
Breast reconstruction is a procedure that attempts to restore a breast to a near normal shape, appearance and size following a mastectomy. This surgery can either be done immediately following a mastectomy or at a later date if the benefits of breast reconstruction were not available to you or was too difficult of a decision at the time of your mastectomy.
The two breast reconstruction surgeries performed by Dr. Mukerji are tissue expanders and latissimus dorsi reconstruction. Either of these surgeries may require multiple, staged surgeries to achieve an optimal result. If only one breast is affected by a mastectomy, it alone may be reconstructed. In addition, a breast lift, reduction, or augmentation can be done on the opposite breast to improve symmetry of the size and position of both breasts. Reconstruction of the affected nipple-areola will also be done at a later surgery.
You will have to decide if the benefits of the surgery will meet your personal goals. Results from this surgery are highly variable: the reconstructed breast will not have the same sensation and feel as the breast it replaces, visible incision lines will be always be present on the breast whether from the reconstruction surgery or mastectomy and at the donor site if this surgical technique is chosen.
Whether your surgery is a same day surgery or requires a hospital stay depends on the surgical technique chosen by you and Dr. Mukerji. Surgery is performed under general anesthesia and lasts anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours, in addition to the time it takes perform your mastectomy. Depending on your surgical choice you should be able to return to work anywhere from two to four weeks after surgery. Other factors related to the diagnosis of breast cancer may extend the time you are required to be off work.
Breast reconstruction is considered medically necessary by most insurance companies. We will assist you in determining the insurance coverage available through your insurance company.
Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person.
Breast Reconstruction Consultation
Plan to spend 30 minutes to one hour at your initial consultation with Dr. Mukerji. During this consultation, you will discuss your surgery goals, your plastic surgery options and go over the risks and benefits involved with your surgery. Your decision to have surgery is a highly personal one that not everyone will understand. The important thing is how you feel about it.
Prior to your consultation, make a list of questions. Many things will be covered during your consultation and it is easy to forget all the questions you had. Be sure to let us know if you smoke, the medications you take including vitamins, and any other health problems. Be aware that smoking causes the blood vessels to constrict which reduces blood flow, and the oxygen it carries, to the surgical area. When your blood supply is reduced, tissues heal more slowly and there is an increased risk of complications. If you smoke, Dr. Mukerji will let you know if you need to quit smoking prior to your surgery and for how long. If you are required to quit smoking prior to surgery, a nicotine test will be administered on the morning of your surgery.
Typically, most of our surgeries are performed in Newbury Park, CA under general anesthesia.