Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Breast removal surgery for breast cancer is a major event for the female patient. The loss of the breast mound and nipple-areolar complex significantly impacts on the psyche of the patient, and also has functional drawbacks such as difficulties with the wearing of bras. Therefore, breast reconstruction plays an important role, not only in reconstructing the physical breast mound, but also restoring confidence to the patient and removing the functional limitations.
Breast reconstruction can take place at the same surgical sitting as the breast removal surgery, or at a secondary time after the initial breast removal surgery. There are a number of techniques for breast reconstruction and these can be broadly grouped into 2 categories – autologous breast reconstruction or implant-based breast reconstruction.
Autologous breast reconstruction:
This technique involves the use of the patient’s own tissue (skin, fat and part of a muscle) to reconstruct the breast mound. The donor site may be the tummy, back, buttock or thigh. The favoured technique at Allure Plastic Surgery is the use of the tummy flap, also known as a Transverse Rectus Abdominis Myocutaneous flap (TRAM flap). This technique provides a reliable method of breast reconstruction that is both natural looking and natural feeling. It also allows reconstruction of a variety of breast sizes to match the opposite breast, a key factor some of the other techniques lack.
Implant-based breast reconstruction:
This involves the use of a silicone implant, similar to that used for breast enlargement, for reconstruction. The reliable use of the implant would depend on the breast skin that remains and if the patient requires post-operative radiotherapy. This requires detailed pre-operative planning and discussion with both the Breast Surgeon and the Plastic Surgeon.
The nipple areolar complex is reconstructed at a later date to ensure symmetry with the opposite nipple.
Hospital inpatient stay is required for either technique as there is a significant amount of post-operative nursing care required.
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