Breast reconstruction is now the most popular cosmetic surgery for women across London and the UK. The McIndoe Centre has been performing breast reconstruction surgery for several years, and our team includes some of the UK’s leading surgeons and surgical consultants.
Our London Patients
The McIndoe Centre is just over an hour from London and we have many patients that come to us for a wide range of treatments. We have top facilities and have handpicked some of the UK’s most esteemed consultants to offer individualised care for each of our patients. If you live in London but want to discuss exactly what is involved in breast reconstruction surgery, please contact us today to arrange a consultation.
What is Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure that creates a new breast shape. This is typically performed after a woman has undergone a full or partial mastectomy. The purpose of the surgery is to restore a breast’s shape and symmetry to match the other breast. Studies have shown that breast reconstruction reduces the psychological impact of a mastectomy.
What Does Breast Reconstruction Involve?
There are a few different types of breast reconstruction procedures for the patient to consider. This is because the decision to undergo breast reconstruction is very personal, and different surgical methods have been developed to help the patient choose the most appropriate procedure for them. Our consultants are always available to talk you through the different options. If you would like an idea of the kind of questions to ask which would be helpful, Breast Cancer Care has provided a useful list here.
We have outlined the procedures available for breast reconstruction below:
Implants – widely believed to be the simplest breast reconstruction method. The procedure involves stretching the skin and muscle into a new shape using silicone or sterile water implants. Although the major positive of this procedure is minimal scarring, it does come with some minor setbacks; namely your body rejecting the implant (this is rare), which can cause some discomfort, and the reconstructed breast may feel slightly less natural.
Living tissue – this method does not involve using silicone or water implants. Instead, different parts of the body are used to help shape and reconstruct the breast. This procedure is particularly suitable for women who:
- Have undergone radiotherapy
- Have a tight mastectomy scar
- Are looking for a more ‘natural’ breast reconstruction result
- Have larger breasts
Breast Reconstruction Using Flap Reconstruction
This method is also known as ‘flap reconstruction’ and involves surgically removing skin, fat and occasionally muscle from different areas of the body to help create the new breast. A study conducted in September 2018 and reported on the International Journal of Surgical Reconstruction stated that: “Free flap reconstructions were effective in achieving a lasting positive result and a high quality of life in patients, decades after surgery.” Read full study here.
Below are the areas where we offer flap reconstruction from:
Stomach - one of the most common areas for flap reconstruction surgeries. There are two ways of performing breast reconstruction using this method, the first is similar to a tummy tuck. The method involves taking skin, fat or muscle from the abdominal region and reattached to the new breast. The second method involves taking an oval-shaped piece of skin, fat, and muscle and then sliding it up, into the breast area for reconstruction.
Buttock - in a similar vein to stomach flap reconstruction, skin, fat, and muscle is taken from the buttock and applied to the breast, giving a natural and soft feel. This method also comes with minimal scarring.
Inner thigh - this method is the newest flap reconstruction method, and involves taking skin, fat, and muscle from around the groin and then connecting that tissue to the blood vessels in the breast. While this method will cause some scarring in around the groin and thigh area (the donor area), it will not impact the functionality of the thigh.
Shoulder - this involves rotating the latissimus muscle (the largest muscle in the upper body) from the back to the breast area while keeping it attached. This method can be used with or without an implant.
Who is Breast Reconstruction for?
The most common reason women opt for breast reconstruction surgery is following a mastectomy or lumpectomy for breast cancer. In most cases, breast reconstruction surgery is performed soon after a mastectomy, but the procedure can be performed months or even years later.
Recovery After Your Breast Reconstruction Procedure
Your recovery period will depend on the type of breast reconstruction surgery involved. In most cases, you will be able to resume normal activities within six to eight weeks but it’s common to experience some pain to begin with (due to swelling in the reconstruction area). This is an entirely normal part of the healing process and you may be prescribed pain killers to help.
You may be asked to remain in the hospital for up to a week to ensure you recover well, but again, this depends on the type of surgery you have had. Scarring and any swelling will take around six weeks to heal.
Choosing Your Breast Reconstruction Specialist
Choosing your breast reconstruction surgeon is simple with The McIndoe Centre. Our surgeons offer a 1-to-1 consultation, in which they discuss your medical past, your expectations, and the surgical process, alongside aftercare treatment and any other questions or concerns that you may have.
Contact Us Today
If you’d like to know more about breast reconstruction surgery, or you’d like to book a consultation with one of our surgical consultants, please do not hesitate to give our friendly staff a call today. our team is always on-hand to offer their expert advice and answer any questions regarding your breast reconstruction surgery.
This article was written by The McIndoe Centre, in collaboration with Anita Hazari MB BS, MD, FRCS, FRCS (Plast), Consultant Plastic Surgeon. Miss Hazari performs a range of procedures at The McIndoe Centre specialising in Breast surgery (reconstructive and cosmetic).