Breast reconstruction is surgery to make a new breast shape after removing breast tissue.
There are several levels of reconstruction some of this is routine and may be filling a void in existing breast tissue or it may be a major procedure resulting from a mastectomy.
A mastectomy means that the surgeon removes all your breast tissue, and most of the skin covering it.
The main ways of making a new breast after mastectomy are:
- An implant under the skin or muscle that covers your chest
- Reconstruction with your own living tissue, taken from another part of your body
- A combination of your own tissue and an implant
DIEP/TRAM Flap procedures
The free DIEP or TRAM flap procedures transplant the necessary skin and fat from the lower abdomen. The flap, or transported tissue, is surgically removed from the abdomen and moved to the breast where it is sculpted to match the original breast shape and size. In many patients the abdomen provides an excellent source of tissue for this type of procedure.
The cosmetic results of conservative surgery plus radiotherapy are usually very good. However some women will still need reconstructive surgery after having only part of their breast removed and reconstruction using the remaining breast tissue is possible.
There are several possible options for this.
- Reshaping procedures to the restore symmetry to the area. This may involve an Implant.
- Lipofilling of a local area ( Fat Transfer)
- Lipofilling of a local area using Stem Cell Enriched Fat (RESTORE™ Fat Transfer)
When to have breast reconstruction
One of the benefits of having a procedure private is that it may be possible to have reconstruction surgery at the same time as your breast cancer surgery. You may also have reconstruction after a mastectomy. We can discuss in detail about the benefits and drawbacks of each approach as it relates to your specific circumstances.