Breast reconstruction surgery is the rebuilding of the breast in women. It is performed after mastectomy (in which complete breast is removed to treat breast cancer) to restore the shape of your breast. It is performed in 2-3 stages and requires several follow-up appointments.
Breast cancer surgery is most successful when performed by a skilled onco surgeons with a great deal of experience in the particular procedure. Breast cancer surgeons and reconstructive surgeons work together to plan procedures that minimize incision and possible scarring. Their goal is to achieve the most effective surgery and the best possible cosmetic outcome and symmetry.
Types of breast reconstruction surgery
There are primarily three different types:
1. Using only an implant
In this type of reconstruction surgery, breast reconstruction is done with only implant. It gives breast natural shape, but firmer and moves less as compared to natural breasts. It is usually preferred in women with small and firmer breasts. The breasts reconstructed this way do not droop with age and look higher than normal. The implants need to be replaced in future.
2. Tissue flap
In this type of breast reconstruction surgery, reconstruction is performed by using one’s own tissue. The tissue can be taken from your fat, or muscles of the back, lower abdomen, inner thigh, or buttocks. It is preferred in women with moderate to large-sized breasts and in women who opt for this type of reconstruction. Though this technique takes a longer time during surgery and recovery, further surgeries may not be required.
3. A combination of both
In some cases, combination of an implant as well as your own tissue for breast conserving surgery may required.
Why breast reconstruction surgery needed?
Breast reconstruction surgery is commonly done after a mastectomy (in which complete breast is removed). It can also be done after lumpectomy (in which part of a breast is removed for reasons like breast cancer). Many women feel self-conscious, anxious, or even depressed due to breast removal. It affects on self-esteem and confidence. To overcome this, breast reconstruction is done.
When can be it done:
The timing of breast reconstruction is based on several factors. It can be done immediately after mastectomy, or can be done after some months or years after mastectomy or lumpectomy. Delayed reconstruction is preferred in patients with high risk (conditions like obesity, diabetes or if the person is a smoker, etc). But delayed reconstruction surgery is also more challenging than an immediate one.
Outcome and concerns:
The aim of reconstruction surgery is to restore the texture and natural look of breasts. But it may feel numb and insensitive to touch, heat, cold, etc. Other than that, it gives the aesthetic appeal close to that of a natural breast.
Also, many people have misconception that reconstruction surgery increases the risk of occurrence or recurrence of breast cancer. But it is not true. There is no direct link between breast tumour and reconstruction surgery. Also, many women have afraid of implants causing pain. But with the advancements in technology, there is an excellent quality of implants available which reduce the risk of pain, especially when the implant is wrapped in Acellular Dermal Matrix and used for reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction has very positive outcomes. It boosts the self-esteem of the person and imparts a sense of wholeness and well-being.
Read: Precautions to be taken before, during and after breast cancer surgery
Prolife Cancer Centre cancer hospitals in Pune when it comes to breast cancer treatment and breast reconstruction surgeries. Dr. Sumit Shah, the co-founder and Director of Prolife Cancer Centre, has over 10 years of experience in dealing with various breast problems and has successfully performed many breast reconstruction and conservative surgeries.
Prolife Cancer Centre provides comprehensive and holistic cancer treatment including breast cancer risk screening, breast cancer surgery (lumpectomy, mastectomy etc.