Breast reconstruction is an integral part of Breast Cancer surgery. More and more emphasis is placed on increasing the rate of reconstruction in Australia, which was for many years one of the lowest in the developed world. With the help of Oncoplastic Breast Surgeons such as Dr Yunaev, these rates are improving. It is our goal to offer reconstruction to every suitable woman, however, the final decision is yours and we hope with our guidance and education you can make an informed decision about whether it is the right path for you.
Reconstruction is a general term for many different kinds of procedures available to you to make a new breast. This can be done with artificial prosthetic devices or with your own tissue. Whether one or all of the options are available to you depends on the characteristics of your body and the type of treatment you’ve had for your cancer – this will be determined in conjunction with Dr Yunaev.
The reconstructive options can be summarised as below. It should be remembered that all of these procedures have their pros and cons and a detailed discussion is required to make sure that you are fully aware of your options and understand which is the right one for you.
- Two stage reconstruction:
- Involves an insertion of an expander (a temporary device) at first surgery (usually at the time of cancer removal) to stretch your tissues and then a replacement of this with definitive implant at the second surgery.
- Single stage reconstruction:
- Otherwise known as direct to implant reconstruction, where an implant is inserted in position usually at the time of cancer operation. This is helped by using an Acellular Dermal Matrix, a sling of material that comes from humans or animals, that is used to support the implant without the expansion process. It is not uncommon with this approach for a need for a second small adjustment procedure down the track to fine-tune the aesthetic result.
- Pedicled Flaps
- In this operation tissue is taken from a particular site of your body, like your upper back or your lower abdomen, and then transferred to its new position in your breast without severing the blood vessels that keep it alive. Sometime these kinds of flaps are augmented by an implant together with the flap.
- Free Flaps
- In this operation tissue is similarly taken from the sites described above, but the blood vessels are severed and then reconnected to new vessels in the chest to keep the flap alive.
- This is a day procedure, which is used to fine-tune reconstructions or other types of procedures (such as breast reductions or augmentations or breast biopsies), to improve the final aesthetic outcome. It involves transferring small amounts of free fat to fill out defects, improve scar appearance and reshape the breast for a more pleasing aesthetic result.
This procedure is often thought of as icing on the cake for women who have had to remove their nipples as part of breast cancer surgery. It allows for closure to the chapter in one’s reconstruction journey. It is often done as a day procedure, where initially the new nipple is formed and once the healing has occurred the areola is tattooed.
Before you decide on breast reconstruction surgery, there are some important issues to keep in mind:
- Breast reconstruction usually requires more than one operation
- Breast reconstruction with implants may not be a good option if you need to undergo radiotherapy as radiotherapy can cause the skin around the implant to shrink, This can cause scar tissue, may interfere with healing and could lead to leaking implants
Breast reconstruction may be a good option for you if:
- You are able to cope well with your diagnosis and treatment
- You do not have additional medical conditions or other illnesses that may impair healing
- You have a positive outlook and realistic goals for restoring your breast and body image
Remember that the procedure best for you will depend on your age, general health, size and shape of the other breast, and available body tissue. All of these options will be discussed with in your consultation with Dr Michael Yunaev.
To discuss your specific situation, please contact us at Breast & Body Clinic to book in your appointment.
DR MICHAEL YUNAEV
“Dr Michael is a Specialist OncoPlastic and Cosmetic Breast and General Surgeon and is the Principal Doctor at Breast & Body Clinic. Dr Yunaev is a highly trained Surgeon with extensive experience and passion for treatment of all aspects of Breast Cancer Surgery, Benign and Congenital Breast Disease and Aesthetic Breast and Body Surgery, as well as General Surgery.”
DR YUNAEV SPECIALISES IN THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURES: