Mastectomy surgery, generally a treatment for breast cancer, involves the removal of part of the breast or the whole breast, depending on the oncological treatment plan. This surgery often causes psychological trauma for the patient and she may choose to opt for breast reconstruction.
In breast reconstruction, the surgeon forms a breast mound using an implant or excess fatty tissues from the patient’s belly, back or buttocks, and prior to the reconstruction, consults with the patient to ensure she is confident with the surgical plan and the planned chronological order for multiple procedures, which is always determined on an individual basis.
Reconstructive surgery with appropriate result usually consists of several surgeries, and the frequency and invasive nature of these procedures are always adjusted to the patient’s current condition and needs.
It is important to note that the healing process is different for each individual patient, and that it is advisable that the patient has access to continued support in her recovery.
About the Surgery
There are two methods most commonly used to reconstruct the breast after mastectomy. In some cases, during oncological surgery, in place of the removed breast a tissue expander can be implanted, which causes the gradual expansion of the skin in the area of the breast, which is eventually exchanged for a breast implant of a similar size in a later surgery.
The other method involves the transfer of the patient’s own fatty tissues from the belly, back or buttocks to create a whole breast. This technique results in the newly shaped breasts best resembling natural breasts, however if there is not sufficient quantity of the patient’s own fatty tissue, a combination of implantation and fat transfer may be appropriate.
Reconstructive breast surgery is performed under general anesthetic, and can take from 1 to 12 hours.
Depending on the method of surgery, the patient may be advised that physical strain is to be avoided for shorter or longer periods of time following recovery.