Procedures: Breast

Breast Reconstruction

Modern surgical technology makes it possible to construct a natural-looking breast after mastectomy (breast removal) for cancer or other diseases. The procedure is commonly begun and sometimes completed immediately following mastectomy, so that the patient wakes with a new breast mound instead of no breast at all. Alternatively, reconstruction may begin years after mastectomy.

Women whose cancer seems to have been eradicated with mastectomy are the best candidates for breast reconstruction. Those with health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure and those who smoke are advised to wait. Others prefer to postpone surgery as they come to terms with having cancer, consider the extent of the procedure, or explore alternatives.

The reconstruction itself consists of multiple operations, the first of which involves creation of the breast mound and is performed during or after mastectomy in a hospital under general anesthesia. Later surgeries, if necessary, may be done in the hospital or an outpatient facility, with either general or local anesthesia.

There are several ways to reconstruct the breast, both with and without implants; your surgeon(s) should work together with you in deciding which approach is best for you.

Breast reconstruction has not been proven to affect the recurrence of cancer or other diseases, chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

Male Breast Reduction

Gynecomastia is a common condition that affects nearly half of all men, resulting in localized fat and/or glandular tissue in the breasts. For most cases of gynecomastia, the cause is unknown, but this condition may be linked to certain medications or diseases. Many men are embarrassed by this condition and seek treatment to achieve a smooth, contoured chest through male breast reduction.

Male breast reduction may be performed using liposuction, surgery or a combination of the two, depending on the amount and type of tissue found in the breasts. If the breasts consist of mostly fatty tissue, liposuction may be used to suction out fat from an incision in the nipple or underarm areas. For breasts with an excessive amount of glandular tissue, excision surgery may be performed, which requires cutting away the excess fat, skin and tissue through a larger incision. Dr. Cohen will determine which technique is best for you based on your individual goals for surgery.

After breast reduction surgery, patients will usually be able to return home the very same day. Post-operative symptoms may include swelling and discomfort, which can be managed through pain medication and compression garments worn for the first few days after surgery. Patients will be able to return to work once they feel well enough, but should avoid sexual activity and strenuous exercise for three weeks while the chest heals. For most patients, breast reduction surgery produces a flatter, more well-defined chest that can last for many years, as long as patients maintain a stable weight.

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