Preparing for your Chicago breast surgery


Your oncologist and your plastic surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications.

While making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your breast surgery and to help you out for a few days, if needed.

Where your surgery will be performed
Breast reconstruction usually involves more than one operation. The first stage, whether done at the same time as the mastectomy or later on, is usually performed in a hospital.

Follow-up procedures may also be done in the hospital. Or, depending on the extent of surgery required, your surgeon may prefer an outpatient facility.

Types of anesthesia
The first stage of reconstruction, creation of the breast mound, is almost always performed using general anesthesia, so you'll sleep through the entire operation.

Follow-up procedures may require only a local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy. You'll be awake but relaxed, and may feel some discomfort.

Types of implants
If your breast surgery surgeon recommends the use of an implant, you'll want to discuss what type of implant should be used. A breast implant is a silicone shell filled with either silicone gel or a salt-water solution known as saline.

Because of concerns that there is insufficient information demonstrating the safety of silicone gel-filled breast implants, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that new gel-filled implants should be available only to women participating in approved studies. This currently includes women who already have tissue expanders (see below under Skin Expansion), who choose immediate reconstruction after mastectomy, or who already have a gel-filled implant and need it replaced for medical reasons. Eventually, all patients with appropriate medical indications may have similar access to silicone gel-filled implants.

The alternative saline-filled implant, a silicone shell filled with salt water, continues to be available on an unrestricted basis, pending further FDA review.

As more information becomes available, these FDA guidelines may change. Be sure to discuss current options with your surgeon. (Above guidelines are current as of July 1992.)

 

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