For many women after a mastectomy, restoring their appearance is part of their physical and personal recovery. Through breast reconstruction, Robert Frank, MD Plastic Surgery helps patients from Hobart, Munster, Crown Point, and Frankfort regain what they have lost. He helps those in his care achieve this result through a supportive bedside manner, years of experience, and careful coordination with general practitioners and general surgeons.
Dr. Frank’s Approach to Breast Reconstruction
Our practice follows one of two paths depending on the patient’s needs:
- If she has not yet had a mastectomy, Dr. Frank works in concert with the patient’s medical team to plan and perform breast reconstruction (immediate reconstruction).
- If she has already had a mastectomy, Dr. Frank conducts the surgery as a second, follow-up procedure.
In either case, our practice helps breast reconstruction patients in Hobart, Munster, Crown Point, and Frankfort work with their insurers. Companies will often cover at least a portion of the expense, and we can guide patients through the process.
There are many different types of breast reconstruction procedures. Some require taking skin and muscle from elsewhere on the body, which means a longer hospitalization and recovery. As an alternative, most of Dr. Frank’s patients have tissue expander implant surgery. This method is a multi-stage process that creates new tissue in the area of the mastectomy and builds volume with an implant.
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About the Procedure and Recovery
For women who have not yet had a mastectomy, breast reconstruction takes place during the same surgical session:
- The general surgeon conducts the mastectomy.
- Dr. Frank performs the initial reconstruction and places the tissue expander.
- Both procedures take place while the patient is under general anesthesia, so she wakes up already on her way to a restored body.
For breast reconstruction patients from Munster, Hobart, Crown Point, and Frankfort who have already had a mastectomy, Dr. Frank places the expander as an outpatient procedure. Typically, these patients have less discomfort during recovery.*
In both cases:
- Patients return to Dr. Frank’s office several times in the weeks that follow.
- After about two weeks, most women have drains removed from the surgical site, and Dr. Frank can begin the expansion process.*
- About once per week over a period of 6-8 weeks, our practice adds volume to the expander using an accessible port.*
Throughout recovery, Dr. Frank encourages patients to share how they are feeling about the shape and size of their growing breast tissue. This allows him to tailor the next phases of breast reconstruction to their needs.
After a patient’s breast tissue has reached the appropriate size, she schedules a follow-up procedure with Dr. Frank to receive a permanent breast implant. The surgery takes place at a licensed facility under general anesthesia.
Dr. Frank uses Mentor® and Inamed® implants, which offer generous warranties and have proven their safety over time. A sizeable majority of his patients choose silicone gel implants for their softer, more natural feel. Mastectomy patients may not have the right amount of breast tissue for saline implants, which require enough mass to look and feel natural.
Breast reconstruction concludes with a third procedure that reconstructs the nipple and areola for better aesthetics. Patients usually receive sedation rather than general anesthesia.
One of the benefits of this procedure is that patients can donate skin for the nipple from an area that has too much skin. For example, some mastectomy patients notice that the armpit area has become enlarged with tissue, and so the procedure improves this concern as well as creates a more natural-looking breast.
Usually, the final results of breast reconstruction appear 6-8 months after Phase Two.* This gives the breast time to settle into position. Though the entire process takes time, breast reconstruction helps restore the patient’s body, eliminates her need to wear a removable prosthetic breast, and makes many women feel whole again.*
To rejuvenate your body after mastectomy, schedule a consultation with Dr. Frank. Patients from Munster, Hobart, Crown Point, and Frankfort can schedule online or call our practice at (219) 513-2011.
*Individual results may vary