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After breast reconstruction, the patient can hope for a more normal appearing breast after the mastectomy. Our goals, as plastic surgeons are to create both Normal appearance and regain symmetry with the contralateral unaffected breast. Breast reconstruction may be performed with prosthetic silicone implants, autologous pedicle flaps of tissue, or free-flaps using microvascular anastomosis. Unfortunately, on very advanced breast cancers (stage 4) often it is not possible to create an absolute perfect match to the opposite breast. In these cases we try to equate similar volumes for the brassiere at least.
For an expander/implant reconstruction, the hospital stay is usually overnight. For an autogenous flap reconstruction, the hospital stay is generally 4-6 days. Patients are usually walking the day after surgery. Narcotic pain medication is administered through patient-controlled pumps until the pain is reduced and patients can take pain pills by mouth. Recovery is about 1 to 2 weeks with an expander/implant, and about 3-8 weeks if a flap reconstruction is done.
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