Breast reconstruction is now widely available to patients who undergo surgical treatment for breast cancer, and is known to improve the quality of life for women treated for this disease. It can occur at the same time as treatment for breast cancer (immediate breast reconstruction) or may be undertaken following completion of surgical treatment, sometimes after many years (delayed breast reconstruction).
TYPES OF BREAST RECONSTRUCTION
IMPLANT BASED RECONSTRUCTION
This is the commonest type of reconstruction for patients having an immediate breast reconstruction. The skin and nipple of the breast are preserved and a cohesive silicone breast implant is placed inside the space left after the mastectomy. This is sometimes placed under the pectoral chest wall muscle, and sometimes on top of it. Often, the implant used is “teardrop” in shape in order to create as natural a shape to the reconstructed breast as possible.
Sometimes a tissue-expander implant may need to be used, either to change the size of the reconstructed breast or if the patient has medical conditions which might put them at higher risks of wound healing problems (and therefore implant infection and loss).
TISSUE-FLAP BASED RECONSTRUCTION
This type of reconstruction uses the patient’s own tissue to recreate the breast following mastectomy, and can be done as either an immediate or delayed reconstruction. The common sites used to donate tissue for breast reconstruction include the back, the lower abdominal tissue, the inner thighs and the gluteal / buttock area.
Unlike an implant based procedure, once surgery is complete a flap will not need to be replaced in the future. This type of surgery will necessitate scars on other parts of your body where the tissue-flap is taken from and will often entail a longer recovery.
The decision to undergo reconstructive surgery is a very personal one, and there are advantages and disadvantages of this type of surgery and the technique used specific to your individual situation and needs.
I am experienced in all aspects of immediate and delayed breast reconstruction and will be happy to discuss the options open to you before you decide if it is the right thing for you or not.
Discussion with Mr McIntosh is important to answer any questions that you may have. For information about any additional conditions not featured within the site, please contact us for more information.