Dr. Casey compares the recovery after implant breast reconstruction with breast reconstruction using a woman's own tissue.
It does vary with technique, especially for comparing implant reconstruction compared to their own tissue. With implant reconstruction there are smaller operations, but more of them over the years. We usually start by placing a tissue expander. It’s nice because it’s only one scar on the chest. There’s no other scars anywhere else in the body. We get the implant off the shelf.
The problem is then we have to go through about a four-week recovery just to get over the discomfort and the healing process from the first operation. Then, as a general rule, we bring people back to the office about every week or so and go through the expansion process, which mean for putting an inflatable water balloon and slowly increasing the size and shape to the point where we are happy with where we stand.
Then in about six months generally from the first operation we go back and put a permanent implant in, and that’s another three to four week recovery but again, it’s not nearly as involved as the initial operation.
With their own tissue it is a bigger commitment upfront, but in the long-term there’s less that they have to deal with. It is about a six to eight week recovery from the operation using the lower abdominal skin to reconstruct the breast. Most of those people aren’t going to feel up for a whole lot for the first couple of weeks anyways, but after about two to three weeks they are able to at least do their normal day-to-day activities. They are just worn out by the afternoon.
About Dr. William Casey, M.D.:
Dr. William J. Casey, M.D., is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Dr. Casey graduated from Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University Medical Center in North Carolina. He then completed his residency in plastic surgery at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Minnesota and in general surgery at Greenville Memorial Hospital in South Carolina.
Visit Dr. Casey at Mayo Clinic