Breast reconstruction is a surgery in which breasts affected by mastectomy – breast cancer surgery – are rebuild. The purpose of the procedure is to restore the normal shape, size and appearance of breasts. Three basic steps for the procedure of breast reconstruction are.
- Creating new breast mound
- Reconstruction of breasts and modifications of opposite breast including breast lift or breast reduction (for patients who had mastectomy on one breast)
- Creation of new areola and nipple (not compulsory)
The main reasons behind having breast reconstruction are as follows.
- To make their chest look balanced
- To regain the breast shape
- To avoid using artificial means to give fuller look to breasts.
Breast reconstruction can be done using three methods and there are number of factors that can affect the results of procedure. The technique used for the procedure also affects the outcomes.
- Breast reconstruction using implants:
In this procedure, breast implants are placed in the breasts either beneath pectoral muscles or above them to give shape and volume to the breasts. Implants come in various sizes and shapes and can be altered depending on the requirement.
- Breast reconstruction using tissues of your own body:
Breast reconstruction can also be done using your own body tissues. This procedure is done by taking tissue flap from certain area of body like abdomen, back or thighs and is transplanted on the breast area. The drawback of this procedure is that it leaves prominent scars behind on the donor area as well as on the breasts.
- Breast reconstruction using your body tissues combined with implants:
Sometimes above given both the methods are used in combination for breast reconstruction.
Although breast reconstruction surgery rebuilds breasts, the results vary greatly.
- Reconstructed breasts may not have the same feel and sensation as the breasts had prior to surgery.
- Incisions scars will be there whether are for reconstruction surgery or mastectomy
- If you have selected tissue flap technique, it will leave scars on donor site also from where tissue flap is taken.
- If only one breast requires reconstruction, in addition with this procedure breast lift, breast augmentation or breast reduction may also be recommended to improve the symmetry in size and position of both breasts.
It is also important to mention here that the size of breasts that is to be obtained is determined before the surgery. Modifications on the opposite breast (in case of reconstruction for one breast) are also based on the desired size of breasts after the procedure. Breast implants are mostly used for breast reconstruction and breast implant sizing is a considerable issue to get desired breast size. Breast implant sizing is done on the basis of various issues like current and previous breast size, patient’s height, width of shoulders, body shape and figure.