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Restore Your Body's Shape with Breast Reconstruction


Quick Facts about Breast Reconstruction

Dr. Julio Clavijo-Alvarez. Breast cancer is a devastating disease for women. Patients undergoing mastectomy (breast removal) are good candidates for immediate breast reconstruction at ReNova Plastic Surgery in Pittsburgh, PA.

  • Delayed breast reconstruction can be done if the breast was not reconstructed at the time of the mastectomy.
  • The breast reconstruction procedure is performed under general anesthesia and it is usually completed in 4 to 6 hours.
  • The usual recovery time is 1 to 2 weeks.

Trust your breast reconstruction procedure to the best-reviewed plastic surgeon in Pittsburgh.

What is Breast Reconstruction?

Breast cancer reconstruction patient.

Breast reconstruction is the re-creation of your breast after removal due to cancer treatment. There are multiple methods to recreate the breast, including implants or your own tissue.

How and where is the surgery done?

The procedure is done in a hospital under general anesthesia. The duration of the procedure is about two and a half to three and a half hours. It is done as an inpatient procedure with an overnight stay.

What decisions do I need to make before my procedure?

Undergoing breast cancer treatment and surgery is difficult. It requires not only a well-established team, but more importantly the support of loved ones. The most important decisions that you will need to make are as follows:

  • Timing of your reconstruction (immediately after the mastectomy or at a later time)
  • Type of reconstruction
  • Implants from the onset or
  • Expanders with later exchange to implants
  • Your own tissue or your own tissue with expanders

You will be advised of your options during your consultation.

Are silicone implants safe?

Yes, they are. Silicone implants are one of the more highly studied medical technologies.

History of Silicone Breast Implants

Between 1992 and November 2006, silicone breast implants were banned for cosmetic use while the FDA gathered information regarding their safety. The only patients who received silicone implants during this time were reconstructive patients and those with problems such as capsular contracture and breast asymmetry. These patients were required to enroll in a study where they were followed for 5 years after the operation.

At the end of the study, the FDA concluded that: “silicone breast implants did not cause any kind of disease.” Studies showed that there was no greater incidence of any type of disease in women with silicone breast implants compared to the general female population. Silicone implants were determined to be medically safe.

What is the post-op recovery like?

Following your procedure, you should plan for the following:

  • 1 week off from work if non-physical
  • No driving while taking narcotic medication
  • Drains for 3-4 weeks
  • Swelling for 4-6 weeks
  • Exercise: resume lower body activities at 1 week, upper body activities at 6 weeks
  • Follow-up appointments after: one week, 6 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year

What complications could occur?

  • Infection (<1%)
  • Bleeding (<1%)
  • Loss of skin or preserved nipples
  • Asymmetries

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"Not only is Dr. Julio great but so is his staff and office environment! I have recommended family members and friends to him for various procedures and all agree!"

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