Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic practice are all involved when dealing with breast reconstruction and tends to be performed after a patient has gone through a form of cancerous procedure. It can be difficult to go through a breast cancer diagnosis and to go through breast reconstruction are often seen as a secondary option.
When Would A Breast Reconstruction Surgery Be Required?
Generally, breast reconstruction surgery tends to be considered after the diagnosis of the following:
What Is Breast Reconstruction After A Mastectomy?
There are pros and cons with having breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy which can make it a difficult decision to go through for a patient. It’s important that a careful discussion is had to make sure that the decision-making process is as smooth as possible. In order to do this, you may require a number of consultations with the oncological team.
Breast reconstruction surgery can be performed through autologous transfer, non-autologous tissue transfer or a combination of both. Implants and tissue expanders are used when going through non-autologous methods whilst autologous reconstruction would involve using your own tissue. The benefit of using autologous tissue is that it ages better and the changes that occur are minimal.
This can be a rather time-consuming procedure and the recovery time tends to be longer but it can be more beneficial and less risky. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of this to ensure the surgery is suitable for you.
During an autologous breast reconstruction surgery, tissue can be used from the abdomen to reshape the breasts without having a diverse effect on the abdomen itself. This is achieved by dissecting the tissue that would normally be exerted from a tummy tuck surgery from its blood supply. This would prevent damage to the abdomen muscles since a flap of tissue is created. Other parts where the blood vessels are dissected is from the armpit or chest. Here, the veins in the chest and tummy tissue are stitched together.
The stomach is then closed as it would be with a traditional tummy tuck and the new tummy tissue is shaped on to the chest wall to create new breasts. There are other areas where tissue can be taken from around the body but this choice will be discussed during your consultation.
Another option is to take the tissue from the back to transfer on to the breast area. The disadvantage of this is there may not be enough tissue to form the breast, in which case an implant may be required.
This can be combined with autologous methods also and would involve using an implant to help with the construction of the breasts. This can be beneficial for patients who are looking for a simple solution after a mastectomy. It’s worth noting that this wouldn’t be recommended if radiotherapy is required in the short or long term.
Shape, size and symmetry are the most important elements for you to consider during breast reconstruction surgery as several aspects of this would need to be considered. It will require 2 surgical procedures. As the breast will be moulded from scratch, the first procedure is required to ensure that there is a base for the breasts. After this, the rest of the breast is then moulded.
There are also other procedures combined together during breast reconstruction surgery to ensure that the appearance and symmetry are maintained. These include the following:
- Fat Transfer
- Nipple Reconstruction
- Areola Tattooing
- Unilateral reconstruction (via a mastopexy, breast reduction or mastopexy implant)
If this is required it would be discussed during your consultation.
Breast Reconstruction After Lumpectomy
It is common for asymmetry to occur between the breasts after Lumpectomy. How this can be rectified tends to be through several ways including a mastopexy or autologous fat transfer procedure. In some cases, the procedures would need to be combined and applied to the unaffected breast in order for the breasts to appear correct and fuller.
Similar to mastectomy, autologous and nonautologous methods can be used to correct asymmetry but in extreme cases, immediate reconstruction after mastectomy may be required to obtain results that you are satisfied with.
How Much Does Breast Reconstruction Surgery Cost in the UK?
The exact nature and requirements of your particular reconstruction will determine the costs of the overall procedure. As such, we provide a detailed cost breakdown at the consultation stage. This is done once the best procedure and methods for your reconstruction have been decided. This cost breakdown will include:
- Hospital fees.
- Surgeon time.
- Anaesthetic costs.