Breast reconstruction is designed to create a natural-appearing breast using either your own tissues or an implant. There are several different techniques available for breast reconstruction. The option we choose depends on your individual anatomy, medical history, and personal needs. Whether the reconstruction is performed immediately after a mastectomy (known as immediate reconstruction) where the patient wakes with a “new breast” or later (known as delayed reconstruction), this procedure has a dramatic impact on a woman’s quality of life and emotional well-being.
Women whose cancer seems to have been eradicated with mastectomy are the best candidates for breast reconstruction. Those with health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure and those who smoke are advised to wait. Others prefer to postpone surgery as they come to terms with having cancer, consider the extent of the procedure, or explore alternatives.
The reconstruction itself consists of three main stages, the first of which involves creation of the breast mound
that is symmetric to the other side and is performed during or after mastectomy under general anesthesia. Occasionally, the other breast may need to be altered to create this symmetry. Next is the nipple reconstruction which is an outpatient procedure usually performed in the office and involves creating a small flap from local skin. And finally, the areolar tattoo which matches in colour and size of the areola of the normal breast. This is also an office procedure.
There are several ways to reconstruct the breast, both using one’s own tissues and/or with the use of implants.
Dr. AlShunnar will work together with you in deciding which is the best for you.