Breast Reconstruction With Mastectomy,
or Following Mastectomy, and Partial Breast Reconstruction following Lumpectomy
Breast reconstruction surgery can be performed:
- At the same time as your breast cancer surgery (immediate reconstruction), or
- At a later time (delayed reconstruction)
- As a partial breast reconstruction to fill the gap in the breast tissue where cancer once was
Some women leave it for a number of years. Breast reconstruction is a very personal decision.
Your surgeon will ask you how you feel about full or partial breast reconstruction.
What is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is performed to restore the shape and size of the breast.
Indications for Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction may be performed in the following cases:
- Mastectomy for treatment of breast cancer
- Loss of breast tissue secondary to trauma or injury
- Birth defects in the breast
- Partial breast reconstruction after lumpectomy
Benefits of Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction has been found to greatly enhance your self-image and quality-of-life.
During reconstruction, your oncoplastic/plastic surgeon creates a breast mound using an implant-based technique or tissue flap taken from your stomach, thighs, back, or buttocks.
Breast Reconstruction Procedure
Breast reconstruction can be performed in two ways:
- Using implants
- Using your own body tissues
What are Breast Implants?
Breast implants are artificial shells filled with silicone gel that is surgically implanted to replace breast tissue. They vary in shape and texture and can be placed either under or over your chest muscles.
Breast Reconstruction Using Implants
If the procedure is performed during breast cancer surgery, and you have sufficient tissue to cover the implant, (for example, if the breast skin and nipple is spared) your doctor will place the implant either above the chest wall muscles (modern-day prepectoral breast reconstruction) wrapped in a biological wrap (like a Wanton or Ravioli) called an Acellular Dermal Matrix or within a mesh bra - or partly under the chest wall muscles (dual plane reconstruction). Sometimes the permanent implant can be put in (direct-to implant or DTI reconstruction) , sometimes a two stage approach is safer whereby a tissue expander (like an inflatable balloon) is placed initially and the breast is slowly expanded over a period of weeks, in the outpatient setting to the appropriate size. A second operation, usually just overnight in hospital, is needed to remove the expander and place with a permanent implant.
Even though a “one stage” direct to implant procedure may seem attractive, a safer option may be the two stage procedure because of tumour or skin/breast factors. Your surgeons will guide you to the best procedure. It is common for patients who have DTI procedures to undergo fat injection down the track to smooth out any contour issues.
Our surgeons have specialist training and vast experience in sophisticated modern techniques of implant reconstruction. We have one of the highest rates of breast reconstruction rates in Australia and have published widely on our experience.