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Breast Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction surgery is a procedure which aims to replace the tissue from the breast which has been removed due to breast cancer or other possible reasons.

Our highly qualified and experienced plastic breast surgeons are able to offer the very latest procedural techniques to ensure that our patients achieve the results they want with minimal scarring and disruption of their day-to-day life.

Breast reconstruction is aimed so that the breast regains some of its original shape and appearance. This can be done immediately after having a complete or partial breast removal (mastectomy), or at a later date.


Several Techniques

Breast reconstruction is unique in the way that a breast can be reconstructed using a breast implant or the patient’s own tissue.

There are several techniques available to do the procedure. Our surgeons use a combination of methods to get the best result.

Breast reconstruction after mastectomy (surgical removal of the breast) is a very personal and completely individual choice. And with the advances in breast reconstruction surgery, many women undergoing breast removal choose to have their breast(s) rebuilt.

Even though medical, surgical, and radiation therapy treatments for breast cancer have increased the number of breast-sparing procedures available, some breast cancer patients may still require a mastectomy (removal of the breast or breasts). In addition, other women have their breast(s) removed due to other diseases.


Creating Natural Breast

Breast reconstruction surgery involves creating a breast mound that comes as close as possible to the form and appearance of the natural breast. The goal of reconstructive surgery is to create a breast mound that matches the opposite breast and to achieve symmetry. If both breasts have been removed, the goal of breast reconstructive surgery is to create both breast mounds approximately the size of the patient’s natural breasts.

So if the patient is considering breast reconstruction, her choice will depend on her cancer management plan, lifestyle, body build, personal circumstance, the skills of the surgeon and whether or not she will accept more scars or the use of implants.

Our plastic breast surgeon will be able to discuss all the available options and discuss the benefits and risks of each method relevant to her.


Inflatable Implant

When an inflatable implant (expander) is used, the newly reconstructed breast often looks flattened immediately after reconstruction. This is because the implant is positioned behind tissues that are relatively tight. These tissues stretch and soften over the next few months after the implant is inflated to provide better projection and shape.

Inflation of the implant normally starts in the first 2 weeks after the operation. This involves the injection of saline (salt water) into a port, which is just underneath the skin and attached to the implant. There will be a sensation of pressure during this procedure, which normally settles down after several hours.

Inflation is usually carried out in the outpatient clinic at weekly or fortnightly intervals. In a few weeks the scar will become red but will fade with time (usually over a few months).


Oncoplastic Reconstruction

If you are one of those women who are seeking reconstruction during or after breast conserving surgery, The advanced technique of Oncoplastic reconstruction can be used. Breast-conserving surgery is one which is usually called wide local excision or lumpectomy. This is the removal of the cancer with a margin [border] of normal breast tissue around it.

Oncoplastic reconstruction techniques remove the cancer with reconstruction only if there is likely to be a noticeable defect in the breast shape after surgery. This could be done , for instance , after a large cancer. This leads to a less likely visible indentation in the breast after surgery , while maintaining the shape and symmetry of the breasts. However, most women will not need this type of surgery after having only part of their breast removed.


Recovery

The recovery period varies but most patients are out of bed the same or next day, may take a shower the next day and may drive a car after 1-2 weeks. It is best to wait 4-6 weeks before gradually resuming exercise and sporting activities.

If an inflatable implant is used, a second operation may be required to remove the injection port or to move it to a hidden position. In certain cases, this operation may be performed under a local anaesthetic.

Sometimes women wish to have surgery on a remaining breast to help your breasts match. This may mean increasing or decreasing the size of the breast, or lifting or moving the nipple. These procedures will all leave some scarring, but they will fade with time. This surgery might be done at the same time as the reconstructive surgery or at a later date to allow the original surgery to settle into position reduce any swelling.


Breast Reconstruction In Men

Breast Reconstruction is not as common in men who have a mastectomy for breast cancer. This is because it is harder to recreate the shape of a man’s breast. Also, men have less volume of breast tissue to replace. However it is sometimes possible to improve the appearance and symmetry of the chest with surgery.

Sometimes having breast reconstruction is not advised because of other existing medical conditions that may increase the risk of problems or complications following surgery. If you are advised against reconstruction our brest surgeons will explain in detail the reasons why.

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