In some patients, the breasts might look even better than before the reconstruction, but the exact feel and touch cannot be recreated.
Following mastectomy, the only remaining tissue on the chest is your muscle and the skin. Our task is to rebuild the breast in the best way possible. Nevertheless, changes are inevitable, and results are highly variable depending on:
type of the reconstruction: reconstruction with your tissue produces more natural and longer lasting results
willingness to undergo additional touch up procedures
presence of complications
personal predispositions and characteristics
cancer removal surgery
further cancer treatment
Shape: The reconstructed breast may be flatter, more round, or have less projection than your natural breast, depending on whether it is rebuilt with implants or your own tissue. Generally, reconstructions with flaps have more ptosis, or the natural shape that accompanies an aging breast.
Size: Breast reconstruction procedures can approximate the size of your natural breasts or achieve either a smaller or larger breasts than before the surgery.
Symmetry: Most women’s natural breasts aren’t perfectly symmetrical, but women tend to expect perfection from reconstruction. From a surgical perspective, bilateral reconstruction presents a better chance for symmetry. Unilateral reconstruction is a bit trickier because it’s more challenging to match the natural droop, shape, and size of the opposite breast.
Sensation: Lost sensation is an unfortunate side effect of breast removal surgery, caused by injuring and severing the small nerves that innervate the skin around the breast area. Just how much sensation is regained, and to what degree, varies significantly between individuals? Most women regain some feeling in their reconstructed breasts as nerves regenerate through time. Regeneration is more likely to occur after reconstruction with tissue flaps than with implants. Typically, women remain numb in the front, central part of the breast, regaining sensation primarily in the outer perimeters of the breast.
Touch: Couple of months after surgery a breast reconstructed with a tissue flap feels naturally soft to the touch. Implants tend to feel firmer, especially if covered with thin tissue cover.
Scars: Scars will always be present on or around the reconstructed breast area. Reconstruction with a flap will usually result in a lens-shaped scar that surrounds the skin transferred with the flap. Additionally, there will be a scar on the part of the body where the tissue was taken. Implants, when used alone, are associated with a linear scar around the reconstructed breast area. More about scars >>>