Many women following breast cancer will require either a partial or full mastectomy. A mastectomy is the removal of the whole breast (or as much breast tissue as possible). This can have a major psychological effect on a woman and seriously impact her quality of life.
Reconstruction of the breast can be done at the same time as your mastectomy or a few months, even years afterwards.
The aim of reconstruction is to match the new breast to your other breast as closely as possible.
The new breast shape from reconstruction can be made by two surgical options –
Flap Reconstruction: these procedures involve skin, fat and sometimes muscle being transplanted from elsewhere in the body, commonly the lower abdomen or back. The result is a new breast constructed entirely from a woman’s own body tissue.
Implant Reconstruction: this procedure is where an implant is placed under the skin and muscle of the chest to recreate the shape of a breast.
If you choose an implant reconstruction, your plastic surgeon will insert a pre-formed silicone or saline solution breast implant that matches your desired dimensions under the skin where your breast used to be. If your skin has been pulled tight following your mastectomy, it may be necessary to use a skin expander, often called a balloon expander, to stretch the skin enough to accommodate the implant.
The expander is then filled with salt water solution over a period of time to assist in expanding the skin over your breasts gradually.
Once the required size is achieved, your surgeon will reconstruct your areola (the dark area surrounding the nipple) and the procedure is complete. If breast reconstruction surgery is carried out at the same time as your mastectomy, the entire process is likely to take around 2 to 3 hours. You will require a general anesthetic and you will need to stay in hospital overnight.
If you prefer not to have any foreign material in your body (breast implant), your plastic surgeon will take some tissue from either your back or stomach to recreate your new breast. The most common areas used for flap reconstruction are your back (A Latissumus Dorsi Flap) and the lower part of your tummy (A TRAM or a DIEP flap).
The advantages of using your own tissue to reconstruct your breast include:
- The tissue is natural
- You will not risk the possibility of the complications that can occur after implant breast reconstruction
The disadvantages of using your own tissue to reconstruct your breast tissue include:
- The operation takes longer and you will need more time to recover
Your recovery will depend upon which procedure you decided to have:If you have a tissue reconstruction you will probably need to spend 4-5 days in hospital following your operation. You should expect to recover fully from an implant reconstruction within 4-6 weeks
Not everyone who has surgery for breast cancer opts to undergo a breast reconstruction. It is important to research the different types of breast reconstruction available before deciding on which one would be best for you. It is important to remember that whilst every effort is made to make your breast as life-like as possible, it will not be a perfect replica of the breast that was removed.
Breast reconstruction is permanent, although you must expect some change in appearance to develop over time.
It is important that your decision to have a cosmetic surgery procedure is considered carefully. There are many points that should be considered before deciding to have any type of cosmetic treatment or surgery.There are also some possible risks, as with all surgical operations, which your cosmetic surgeon will talk through and explain to you at your consultation, answering any questions you may have. This is your opportunity to discuss your intended surgery so the plastic surgeon can ascertain your expectations as to what can realistically be achieved.
Initially you should have a detailed consultation at Profile Perfection to discuss the different types of procedure options available to you. Together we can discuss the options of which surgeons are specialized in this type of procedure and organize a consultation with the surgeon.Once all of your questions and queries have been answered and you are ready to go ahead with the procedure we can start your journey. You will have a high level of support from beginning to end.
Having a procedure can be very daunting and you will feel that you do not know which procedure will be best for you. Which surgeon should I pick? Who will answer all of my questions when I get worried? What questions should l ask the surgeon?
At Profile Perfection we will support you and your decision, guiding you from the initial consultation all the way through to recovery.