Involves the creation of a new breast when the breast has been partially or completely removed for the treatment of breast cancer.
Breast Reconstruction involves the creation of a new breast when the breast has been partially or completely removed for the treatment of breast cancer.
The reconstruction may be performed at the same time as the breast cancer surgery (immediate reconstruction), or during a subsequent operation (delayed reconstruction), after having completed radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Breast Reconstruction can be performed using either breast implants or your own tissues. The latter involves moving unwanted fatty tissue from your abdomen, thigh or back up to your chest to create a new breast mound. Each technique carries with it a range of options that need consideration so as to make the best decision for you.
The results for breast reconstruction are constantly improving. For mastectomy patients who choose to use their own fat to create new breasts vascular surgery is performed at the same time to provide the transplanted fat with its own blood supply. Therefore, the fat will react as it would in its former position so may increase or decrease in weight as the patient’s weight fluctuates.
Another benefit of this method is that if perfect symmetry is not achieved with the initial surgery or the patients’ breasts require further enlarging, fat can be obtained from another part of the body via liposuction and then be re-injected into the breast area – thus creating the desired breast size and natural-looking result.
Breast Reconstruction FAQ
Breast reconstruction can be performed with breast implants or using your own body. The breast implants are the same as those used for breast augmentation surgery but the techniques are different. When using your own body the principle is to use fatty tissue that you will not otherwise miss, such as abdominal fat that is discarded in a tummy tuck operation. This is called a DIEP or a TRAM flap.
Through a detailed discussion and examination, together you and I will determine the best reconstruction for you. Important considerations are your age, general health, previous or planned radiotherapy and smoking status.
Some patients are better suited to an immediate reconstruction (during the same operation as the mastectomy), while other patients are better off with a delayed reconstruction (during a second, separate operation to the mastectomy). Where possible we try to undertake the mastectomy and the reconstruction at the same time.
All you can do is try to optimise your health and fitness in the lead up to surgery.
Breast implant reconstruction takes 1-2 hours per breast, so around 4 hours for both sides. Breast reconstruction using your own body takes 6-8 hours for one breast and 8-12 hours for both sides. The post-operative hospital stay is longer for breast reconstruction using your body but is rarely longer than 1 week. Resumption of normal activities starts 2 weeks after surgery. You can expect to be feeling back to your normal self in 6-12 weeks.