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Breast Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction is used to restore the shape and size of the original breast after breast cancer surgery. It may be recommended after a mastectomy or a disfiguring lumpectomy. The procedure can be performed in a variety of ways to ensure the most natural results possible. Breast reconstruction can be done using synthetic implants or tissue from the patient’s own body, depending on other cancer treatments performed and the patient’s own preference.

Candidates for Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Women may consider breast reconstruction surgery for the following reasons:

  • They want the feeling of “wholeness” breast reconstruction offers
  • It is an important part of their recovery from breast cancer
  • To match the remaining breast if only one breast is removed
  • To allow clothing to fit better without having to wear external breast forms
  • To feel more comfortable and confident during intimacy with their partner

About the Procedure
There are many choices when it comes to breast reconstruction surgery. Some women may choose to have the procedure at the same time they have their breast cancer surgery to avoid subsequent procedures. Others delay their reconstruction to allow time for chemotherapy or radiation treatments after the initial breast cancer surgery.

Techniques used for breast reconstruction surgery will also vary, based on whether implant or tissue grafts are used. The procedure is generally performed under general anaesthesia and may require a night or two in the hospital. Incisions will also vary, based on the specific technique used, but every effort will be made to make visible post-operative scarring as inconspicuous as possible.

See Before and Afters

What to Expect after Surgery
After surgery, compression dressings may be placed over the breasts to hold them in place and minimise swelling during the recovery process. Depending on your situation, you may be back to regular activities within 2-4 weeks. Breast reconstruction is considered a permanent way to restore the fullness and shape of the breasts.

Breast reconstruction is more than an aesthetic procedure; it is a way for some breast cancer survivors to reclaim their lives and make a positive step from their cancer diagnosis to the healing process. To learn more about your choices in breast reconstruction, contact Dr Thomas at the Melbourne Institute of Plastic Surgery on 03 9034 7738.

Dr Damon Thomas