Breast reconstruction is the restoration of the breast after its complete or partial removal together with cancer (mastectomy). More women who have undergone mastectomy, resort to breast revision surgery. It helps to return to a full-fledged lifestyle after a difficult period of struggle with the disease. It allows women to feel much better both physically and mentally. After all, you can recreate a breast that does not visually differ from healthy.
Features and technologies of the operation
Contrary to popular belief, surgery to restore the breast cannot lead to a relapse of cancer. A reconstructed breast is not a contraindication for radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The main thing is to follow the doctor’s recommendations after the operation and undergo a periodic examination of the restored breast.
Breast repair can be performed immediately after mastectomy, but you need to know that this is a significant burden on the body. Doctors do not recommend performing a single-stage operation if the woman suffers from high blood pressure, is overweight or smokes.
The goals of the plastic surgeon are to restore the natural shape and size of the breast, its natural consistency, skin, and nipple. It’s important to observe the symmetry between the mammary glands because for many women the aesthetic appearance of the breast is very important.
A joint work of an oncologist and a plastic surgeon is needed. Together they will develop a plan for surgical treatment. The doctor chooses the type of reconstructive surgery that is ideal for the patient for health reasons, age, and anatomical features. He will certainly discuss with the woman all the features of the upcoming operation and answer all her questions, and also recommend how to prepare for the operation.
Types of reconstruction
Simultaneous breast reconstruction involves the simultaneous removal of cancerous tissue and using an implant. This type of reconstruction is possible with sparing mastectomy. It is performed using prostheses (implants).
In case of delayed reconstruction, after several months or years, the breast reproduction proceeds as follows. First, a tissue expander is installed, allowing the skin to be stretched due to the gradual filling of the expander with a physical solution. Then it is replaced by an implant (in a two-stage operation) or remains in place (in a one-step reconstruction) —the port is removed from which the solution is delivered.
Breast repair methods
It is possible to restore the mammary gland with the help of its own tissues or with the help of implants. When reconstructing the breast with their own tissues, the methods of transplantation of a Latissimus Dorsi flap (transplant of a fragment of tissue from the back or under the arm) or a TRAM flap (transfer of tissues of the lower abdomen) are used.
Reproduction of implants, as a rule, involves first installing a tissue skin expander, which is then removed and replaced with an implant of a suitable shape.