A breast reconstruction is a procedure which aims to restore or replace the natural breast shape after removal of the breast (mastectomy) or from trauma.
Those who have had a mastectomy due to cancer or cancer risk reduction, as well as those who have experienced trauma to the breast tissue. Breast reconstruction may also be performed at the time of mastectomy.
Many women inform us that breast reconstruction helped them feel ‘whole’ again and improved their self-confidence, sense of femininity, intimacy and had more freedom to wear clothing they preferred.
During your first consultation your surgeon will discuss what you’d like to achieve, any expectations you have, questions about the procedure, medical history and current medication. Your surgeon will examine your body and make sure you are suited to the procedure. We will provide as much information as possible so that you feel comfortable and informed, and if you feel overwhelmed in any way we encourage you to make a second consultation so that you feel confident with your decision.
Please ensure you have arranged someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out at home for a few days. To reduce risk of bleeding and bruising please make sure to:
Breast reconstruction is performed under general anesthetic so that you will be completely unaware of the surgery or any pain, and sleep comfortably through the procedure.
Breast reconstruction commonly involves more than one stage. The initial surgery is often the most complex and has the longest recovery, and any surgeries after are usually shorter with a quicker recovery. If only one breast is being reconstructed, the other breast is often operated on to achieve more balance. A breast reduction, lift or augmentation can achieve a better match to the reconstructed breast.
Prosthetic Reconstruction – A temporary tissue expander is inserted under the chest muscle following the mastectomy. This helps to stretch the muscle and skin over time. Fluid is placed inside the expander during surgery to create more breast volume. You will be seen by your surgeon at a later date for additional fluid expansion which only takes a few minutes. You will then have a second operation to exchange the expander for an implant, which has a much quicker recovery than the initial surgery. Nipple reconstruction can also be performed, if necessary.
In some patients, one-stage prosthetic reconstruction may be possible through using a special donor skin which allows ‘direct-to-implant’ reconstruction in some women.
Autologous Tissue Reconstruction:
Diep or TRAM flap – Tissue is commonly taken from the abdomen area for breast reconstruction, similar to tissue used in a tummy tuck procedure. This tissue has its own blood supply, is removed from the body and reattached to a blood supply in the chest, using microsurgery. A special scan is also used to give information about the blood supply to the abdominal tissue. When it is your own tissue, this form of reconstruction can feel and look very natural for you.
Latissimus Dorsi flap – The latissimus dorsi is a muscle in the back. This flap remains attached to its blood supply and contains muscle, overlying fat and skin. In some instances there is insufficient volume in this flap and an implant is required also.
To best prepare for our initial conversation and to better understand your goals, please fill out the form and we will be in touch with you to confirm the availability of your preferred surgeon.
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