Breast reconstruction surgery is a physically and emotionally rewarding procedure for women who have lost a breast due to cancer or other conditions. Following a mastectomy, breast reconstruction surgery will restore the form, symmetry and appearance of natural-looking breasts. The surgery will improve your appearance, self-confidence and overall quality of life.
Before & After
Recent advancements breast reconstruction techniques provide women with more options following their mastectomy. Prior to surgery, Dr. Kelly Sullivan or Dr. Emily Clarke-Pearson will discuss these techniques and prepare a plan to determine which option best fits your needs and desires. Skin expansion is the most common technique for breast reconstruction. It combines expanding the skin and inserting an implant. After the mastectomy, your surgeon will insert a balloon expander beneath the skin and chest muscle. Through a small valve mechanism buried under the skin, she will gradually (over several weeks or months) inject a salt-water solution to fill the expander. Once the skin is sufficiently stretched, the expander may be removed in a subsequent operation and replaced with a more permanent implant.
A flap reconstruction involves the creation of a skin, muscle and fat flap using tissue taken from another part of the body. Depending on the type of flap surgery, the tissue can remain attached to its blood supply, and with the accompanying skin, fat and muscle can be tunneled beneath the skin to the chest. Or a micro-vascular flap can be used with skin from the abdomen, buttocks or thighs and once transplanted, blood vessels are reconnected to the new ones in that region. This surgery can take from two to six hours, depending on the option chosen. Most breast reconstruction surgery involves more than one procedure, with the first surgery usually taking the most time.
Because safety is our first concern, Dr. Kelly Sullivan and Dr. Emily Clarke-Pearson always work with board-certified anesthesiologists to ensure that your surgery is as safe as possible. You’ll never be rushed with Dr. Kelly Sullivan or Dr. Emily Clarke-Pearson, and you will have adequate time for a thorough consultation so they can clearly understand your goals for surgery. Their helpful office staff will also help guide you through the process, ensuring you feel comfortable every step of the way.
Recovery & Aftercare
Patients usually require a surgical drain to remove excess fluids from the surgical sites immediately following surgery. These drains are typically removed within the first week or two. Patients may remain in the hospital for anywhere from two to five days. It may take up to six weeks to recover from a combined mastectomy and reconstruction. If implants are used without flaps and reconstruction is done at a later date than the actual mastectomy, recovery time may be considerably less.
Nipple and areola reconstruction are done separately. Please discuss this option with Dr. Kelly Sullivan or Dr. Emily Clarke-Pearson.
Support For Reconstructive Surgery Patients
Wellness House of Annapolis serves anyone impacted by cancer: cancer patients going through treatment and recovery, their spouses, their children, their caregivers and their friends. We also serve as a valuable resource for community members working or associating with cancer patients and their families, such as teachers, guidance counselors, doctors and clergy.
If you or someone you know could benefit from our services, please contact us:
More information about insurance here.
“For going through such a procedure, there was not one moment from the time I met Dr. Sullivan, Jennie Jacobs and the rest of the staff where I felt uncomfortable or not sure. They were so personable, efficient and confident there was no reason to have a moment’s hesitation. When you go through a diagnosis that will change your life, you have to balance expertise of the doctors with your own instincts about your body. I knew from day one Dr. Kelly Sullivan and her staff were the right choice for me and I have never regretted my choice. I will return when the time arises to have other procedures (hopefully elective) and will always recommend her to anyone who inquires.
*PLEASE NOTE: The specific risks and the suitability of this procedure for any given individual can only be determined through a consultation with Dr. Kelly Sullivan and Dr. Emily Clarke-Pearson.