Breast reconstruction aims to remove cancer and sustain the shape and symmetry of breast. It provides autologoustissue to construct a natural looking breast along with the reformation of a natural lookingareolaandnipple. Learn more about the type, benefits and risk of breast reconstruction surgery in this article.
Breast reconstruction surgery is reconstruction of the breasts to near normal shape appearance, symmetry and size for those women who have had a mastectomy because of breasts cancer. Reconstruction is mainly done by restoring symmetry between the two breasts by replacing the breasts tissue, skin and the creating removed nipple. There are many procedure for breast reconstruction, it either can begin at the time of mastectomy or delayed until a later date. Breast reconstruction can be different for different women depending upon the mastectomy, size, width and location of the tumor removed. Many women choose to have reconstruction surgery because the long-term prospects of living without a breast can be painful. Although improvements in plastic surgery may mean better results now, many women still choose to skip reconstruction and continue to wear external breast forms or pads. The gorgeous appearance is acceptable to many women, but the reconstructed area remains completely numb after the surgery, which results in loss of sexual function and other abnormalities.
Some of the symptoms of breast cancer include the following:
The decision to have a breast reconstruction is extremely complicated because there are potential complications in it and the surgery does not change the risk of breast cancer recurrence. Patients need to be fully aware about the risks and complications involved before and after the surgery. Breast reconstruction can often be carried out immediately following the mastectomy, lumpectomy or congenital deformities. The infection rate may be higher at primary stage but patients with significant medical comorbidity, suffering from obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and chain-smokers are at a higher-risk to infection. Delayed breast reconstruction can also involve more complications than immediate reconstruction because skin surface area needs proper restoration.
Some of the risks associated with Breast reconstruction surgery are as follows:
There is a possibility of various problems after breast reconstruction surgery and they may include:
There are two main techniques for Breast Reconstruction that include:
1. Tissue Expander-Breast implants:
This is the most important technique for breast implants in which a surgeon inserts a tissue expander, a temporary silastic implant into the major pectoralis muscle of the chest wall. The pectoral muscles may be released along its inferior edge to allow the expander at the edge of thinner lower pole to cover the soft tissue area. When implantation is done properly, it helps to improve both functional and creative outcomes of implant. Many women consider this breast implant painful, but they are often pleased with the result.
2. Tissue Flap reconstruction:
The second most important technique is Tissue Flap reconstruction. This method uses tissues from other parts of the patient's body, such as the back, buttocks, thigh or abdomen. Taking tissue from the abdomen is called a Tram flap, whereas tissue taken from the back is known as Latissimus dorsi flap. This process may be completed by leaving the donor tissue connected to the original site to retain its blood supply or it may be cut off and new blood supply is provided.
Sometimes many women consider nipple reconstruction during the mastectomy in order to lower the chances of cancer returning. Nipple reconstruction is done after breasts reconstruction is complete and is usually done with the help of local anesthesia. Tissue is taken from either the back or abdominal flap to complete the nipple reconstruction.
A woman might choose to have breast reconstruction because of the following reasons:
However, breasts reconstruction is always accompanied by scarring, numbness and loss of sensation. Advancement of technology in the field of medicine has reduced the amount of scarring to some extent. Talk to a doctor and discuss what are the necessary medications to overcome numbness and other possible complications post surgery.
Some of the important factors to be kept in mind while making a decision about breast reconstruction should include the following:
Below are the factors that influence breast reconstruction surgery:
1. Cancer stage:
In general, women diagnosed with stage I or stage II breast cancers that choose mastectomy based on a biopsy are less likely to need radiation therapy or other treatments after mastectomy. This is often the best option for them because it combines the mastectomy and reconstruction into one surgical procedure.
Getting a breast cancer diagnosis can be a stressful experience. Making decisions about mastectomy and other related treatments can leave you emotionally drained. The thought of making decisions about the type of reconstruction to have and when to have it might be very challenging.
3. Overall health condition:
If a woman is suffering from diabetes, circulatory problems or a bleeding disorder, then the doctor may advise her to recover completely from mastectomy before she can have reconstruction. However, they can still be eligible for immediate reconstruction. This decision has to be made on a case-by-case basis.
Usually many women are likely to have emotional difficulties after surgery for breast cancer and breast reconstruction. Even after several months, many women find it helpful to talk about their feelings and ask about things that worry them.
A breast care nurse is probably the first source of support, one can talk to a nurse, and they will walk you through many worries and put your mind at rest. Women who have already been through similar kind ofbreast surgery can also be a great help.
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