Breast reconstruction following a mastectomy is now an integral component of the treatment process for breast cancer. For women who have had a double mastectomy, breast reconstruction can rebuild both breasts matching them as closely to the original, natural breast. The decision to have reconstructive surgery is a turning point in the cancer journey and for many signals a new beginning.
Breast reconstruction is available for women who are recovering from the effects of breast cancer treatment. It can also be used following a mastectomy or lumpectomy to ensure both breasts are a similar size and shape.
Treatment for breast cancer can be quite invasive, and result in partial or full removal of the breast. Other areas of the body such as the lymph nodes in the armpit are examined to ensure all cancerous cells are removed via axillary clearance or axillary dissection. Further treatment can involve hormone therapy and radiotherapy.
In a breast reconstruction, the missing volume of breast tissue and any skin deficiency is replaced. Depending on factors including personal preferences, the type of surgery undertaken and the size and shape of the breasts, there are several different methods of reconstruction.
Oncoplastic surgery allows for the reshaping of remaining breast tissue when only a small volume of breast tissue has been removed. The indentation can be filled by injecting fat taken from the lower part of the abdomen.
Occasionally, there is enough skin laxity to allow a breast mound to be formed by inserting an implant underneath the chest wall muscle. If there is not enough skin, it may also be possible to stretch it over approximately three months by using a tissue expander placed underneath the chest wall muscle. The tissue expander would then be replaced by a breast implant in a second operation.
However, if you prefer not to use artificial implants, another method is to use tissue taken from your own body.
The time that a breast reconstruction takes will vary dependent on the specific type of reconstructive surgery that you choose. Your surgeon will discuss your individual case and the different types of reconstruction available to you in your consultation.
As with all surgical procedures, there can be some risks. At The McIndoe Centre, we do everything we can to minimise risk of complications. Your surgeon will talk to you about any possible specific complications before you decide to have your operation.
Recovery time will vary dependent upon the type of reconstruction that you opt to have. This will be discussed with you at length during your journey with us.
We have customers visit us from all over the UK. If you're from London you can read more on our breast reconstruction London page. For directions simply click on the links below to see directions from our most popular locations:
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Dorking: Click here for directions from Dorking.
If you are considering breast reconstruction, please take the opportunity to discuss your wishes with one of our specialist breast reconstruction surgeons. The cost of treatment can vary, according to your chosen treatment and individual requirements.
We’d be delighted if you wanted to arrange a consultation with us. Please call the Helpline on 0800 917 4922 for free and professional advice or submit a contact form here for more information.