Breast reconstruction can be used after all or part of the breast has been removed and the surgery creates a new breast shape.
Breast reconstruction can be used after all or part of the breast has been removed and the surgery creates a new breast shape. If you are having breast cancer surgery you can choose to have breast reconstruction at the same time or you can decide to undergo the surgery at a later date. Generally, breast reconstruction will require several operations in order to ensure the best outcome and there are different types of breast reconstruction, the one that is most suitable for you will depend on a number of factors and your surgeon should discuss this with you.
There are four main ways surgeons can create a new breast shape:
• They can remove the whole breast and then use an implant to gradually stretch the skin and muscle that remains.
• An implant can also be used if just the breast tissue has been removed, leaving the skin.
• Reconstruction using your own living tissue taken from another part of your body is an option.
• Surgeons can also create a new breast shape using a combination of live tissue and an implant.
A surgeon or dedicated breast care nurse will discuss your personal circumstances and which breast reconstruction surgery is best for you, whether you’re having the whole breast or part of it removed.
While your surgeon will aim to create a breast that is similar in appearance to your own breast you are likely to still notice some differences in the shape and symmetry.
Following your surgery, you’re likely to experiences some soreness and tiredness for a week or two. In some cases, you may need to take longer to recover but your doctor will help you control the pain and discomfort you feel.
How long you’ll need to stay in hospital after surgery will depend on the type you had but typically you will be able to go home after just a few days. After surgery you may have one or more drain in place which will remove extra fluid from the surgery site, supporting the healing process, and you may still have these in when you leave hospital.
You may require additional surgery following a breast reconstruction to create a nipple or, if you’ve only had surgery on one breast, to make your other breast match your reconstructed one.
Breast reconstruction costs around £4,000.