Breast Reconstruction Following Mastectomy
Breast reconstruction is available for both men and women who have had a mastectomy for breast cancer. Many women who test positive for a particular gene mutation also consider breast reconstruction surgery to decrease the chances of developing breast cancer.
There are three reconstruction types:
1. Using implants, either silicone gel or saline
2. Using your tissue called autologous reconstruction
3. Using a combination of autologous tissue and implants
Researching all options is important
Although reconstructive options are available, it’s important to know that an individual faces many challenges regarding their reconstruction preference. They might include the following:
Your overall health and the stage of your breast cancer
If you have an advanced breast cancer, you may need additional therapy before reconstruction can begin. A qualified and experienced plastic surgeon like Dr Magnusson will guide you through the process to optimise your health prior to surgery and you both will decide on the best-individualised reconstruction plan for you.
The location and visibility of the scars from surgery are always a concern for individuals considering reconstruction. The location of the scar depends on several factors including; breast surgeon experience, nipple preservation, timing of reconstruction and type of reconstruction.
Your plastic surgeon’s availability and the availability of a medical facility can be a deterrent for some patients.
Time off work
Patients should consider taking 4-6 weeks off of work for recovery depending on the type of reconstruction they choose. The recovery time varies from patient to patient.
There are many resources available to begin research for breast reconstruction choices. The most important being finding a surgeon who understands your goals. There are a large number of breast cancer survivors who write personalised blogs and articles about their breast reconstruction experience and often provide helpful and inspiring information about their surgeon recovery process and how they chose their plastic surgeon. The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons features a list of surgeons with board-certified plastic surgeons who administer breast reconstruction.
Some important questions you should ask your plastic surgeon are as follows:
How many times have you administered this type of breast reconstruction?
What is your success rate?
Do you work alone or have a team of experienced and qualified professionals?
What can I expect to see based on my health history?
Normally breast reconstruction involves more than just one procedure, and it often takes two or more surgeries to finish the process and allow time to heal and recover from surgery. Symmetry and revision procedures, along with areola and nipple reconstruction or tattooing can also be part of this process.