What to Expect After Immediate Breast Reconstruction

Before undergoing breast reconstruction surgery, you may find yourself with many concerns. Will my reconstructed breast appearance feel natural? What technique is right for me? How long and challenging will my recovery be? No matter how much time you devote to preparing mentally and physically for your surgery, you may still have questions. Here is a closer look at realistic expectations for your customized breast reconstruction with Dr. Stephanie Teotia.  

1. Expect Emotional Highs and Lows

It is typical for plastic surgery patients to feel a wide range of emotions during their recovery process. Choosing to surgically alter anything about your appearance can bring a renewed sense of self and relief about how much better you look and feel. However, healing from breast reconstruction surgery can be an especially poignant time.

Many breast cancer survivors who have undergone a mastectomy or similar treatment feel less feminine and sensual as a result. A breast reconstruction can restore these facets of your identity, but you will need to give yourself time and space to experience the full range of feelings that might result from this procedure. It could take a while for you to accept your new breasts as part of your body, especially if they do not quite resemble your old breasts. During your postoperative period, you may find it helpful to work through the emotional aspects with a counselor or reach out to a support network of other women who have had breast reconstruction.

2. You May Need a Follow-Up Procedure to Restore Your Nipples

If your mastectomy surgeon removed one or both of your nipples, you can choose to have a follow-up procedure to recreate your nipples and areolas. While this is not medically necessary, Dr. Teotia often recommends nipple reconstruction to women who want their newly reconstructed breasts to look more natural. If you wish, Dr. Teotia can build your new nipples and areolas. You could also opt for a tattoo, which is a slightly less invasive solution that creates a three-dimensional nipple appearance. Dr. Teotia may suggest waiting until your breasts have fully healed from your initial reconstruction to have these outpatient procedures.

3. You Might Have Numbness

Some loss of physical sensations is a common side effect of mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery if nerves become severed when the surgeon removes the breast tissue. Many women report their reconstructed breasts still have lingering numbness even years after their recovery. If this is a concern for you, talking with Dr. Teotia about what to expect might provide you with a greater sense of control over the road ahead. Be sure to contact us anytime if you notice any issues or troubling symptoms following your surgical procedure.

4. If Your Breast Reconstruction Involves Implants, You Might Eventually Need a Replacement

Modern breast implants are safe, long-lasting devices, but they are generally not permanent. If you have an implant-based breast reconstruction surgery, you might eventually wish to have your implants replaced if you decide to change your breasts’ size or shape. There is also a rare possibility of potential complications, such as capsular contraction or an implant leak or rupture. The FDA recommends women with silicone-filled implants get a breast MRI three years after they receive their implants, and every two years after that, to search for signs of ruptures.

5. Your Recovery Timeline May Last Several Weeks

After breast reconstruction, many women need additional time to rest and focus on self-care. Most patients can resume their typical activities within six to eight weeks, though this period may be shorter if you opt to have implant reconstruction instead of autologous, or flap, reconstruction.

  • Bruising and swelling may obscure your initial results. Be patient as you wait for these to subside.
  • Complete healing can take one to two years, including the return of normal sensation and for scars to fade and blend with your natural skin tone.
  • Ask Dr. Teotia when you’ll need to return for follow-up appointments, and observe her advice on when to resume activities like overhead lifting and strenuous exercise.
  • Talk with Dr. Teotia about the appropriate type of bra to wear. After you heal, underwires and lace might be uncomfortable if they press against scars or rub skin.

The Best Breast Reconstruction Surgeon in Dallas

As a woman, Dr. Teotia understands that your breasts can play a crucial role in defining your femininity and individuality. If you live in the greater Dallas region and want to learn more about breast reconstruction surgery, please reach out to Dr. Teotia and her welcoming, all-female team to schedule your consultation. She enjoys providing comprehensive patient resources and consultations that help people prepare for the surgical journey.