Breast Reconstruction

Breast Reconstruction Surgery Restores the Shape and Volume of the Breast Following Cancer Treatment, Developmental Abnormality, Illness, or Trauma.

About Breast Reconstruction Surgery

The breast may be strongly associated with a person’s sense of identity, and reconstruction of the shape and volume of the breasts can restore this sense of identity or ‘normal’ self to women who have undergone treatment for breast cancer.

Treatments for cancer may involve partial or total mastectomy surgery to remove the cancer, with or without radiotherapy.

These treatments, while necessary to survive the cancer, may leave the breast, and, therefore, the patient feeling disfigured by a permanent reminder of their ordeal.

Breast reconstruction can positively affect the patient by helping to provide a sense of familiarity and restore the identity and allow the patient to feel that they have truly overcome the cancer.

There is good evidence that breast reconstruction can positively affect the quality of life outcomes for breast cancer survivors.

The development of the breast is a complicated process that may become restricted in many areas during growth leading to developmental deformities such as tuberous breasts.

This may lead to significant stigmatisation or embarrassment for patients, from the time of puberty as the breasts start to develop.

Developmental breast deformities can negatively impact a woman’s self-esteem and can lead to a lack of intimacy.

If you are unhappy with the shape of your breasts, a surgical procedure such as breast reconstruction may correct the size, shape, and symmetry of the breasts.

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What’s Involved in Breast Reconstruction Surgery?

Whatever the reason a patient seeks breast reconstruction, an individualised and tailored approach that incorporates the most suitable surgical techniques can have a profound impact on a woman’s confidence and the way she sees herself.

Breast reconstruction may involve use of a breast prosthesis or the patient’s own tissues using cutting-edge microsurgery techniques. Breast reconstruction surgery does not hinder or have an impact upon future breast cancer screenings, checks, or detections. Additionally, it does not increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence.

Some prosthetic implants have been associated with long term complications, including the rare form of cancer known as ALCL.

For these reasons, breast reconstruction surgery is a decision that should not be taken lightly; speak to your doctor and our plastic surgeons who will help you make an informed and well-educated decision regarding the risks and benefits involved with each option.

Can Breast Reconstruction Be Performed At The Same Time as Mastectomy?

In some cases, your breast reconstruction plastic surgeon may be able to perform reconstructive surgery immediately following and within the same operation as the mastectomy surgery, which is performed by the breast cancer surgeon.

This is referred to as “immediate reconstruction”.

The decision to have immediate reconstruction depends on certain factors including your stage of breast cancer, the chance of needing further treatments, the areas of the body that are suitable for taking your own tissue from, and your overall health condition.

In other cases, breast reconstruction surgery can take place months or even years following breast cancer and associated surgeries and/or preventative treatments.

This is known as “delayed reconstruction” and gives women more time to consider their breast reconstruction options for the future.

In some cases, a temporary inflatable implant may be inserted in place of the excised breast tissue at the time of the mastectomy in order to gently and gradually stretch the skin.

This allows a later final reconstruction using either your own tissue or a prosthesis.

Types of Breast Reconstruction

Whether performed at the time of your breast surgery or some time later, your breast reconstruction surgery may involve inserting an artificial implant under the skin to replicate the shape and volume of the breasts, or using the patient’s own tissue.

Tissue may be taken from the tummy, back, or thighs, and transferred to the chest using microsurgery techniques that attach an artery and veins to supply a blood circulation to the transferred tissue.

Alternatively, fat grafts taken from other parts of the body via liposuction may be injected into the area of the breast. In these cases, your plastic surgeon will carefully consider which is the appropriate choice for each patient. Factors include the availability of ‘donor’ (or spare) tissue, such as in the tummy.

The outcome may, therefore, be a breast reconstruction and a ‘bonus’ tummy tuck, or thigh / tummy liposuction in order to provide the source material for the breast reconstruction.

The approach used by our surgeons is tailored and comprehensive and also takes into account the effects of the breast cancer treatments on areas outside of the breast, such as the effects of surgery and/or radiotherapy to the lymph nodes, that may result in lymphoedema.

Our surgeons will help you choose the technique that best aligns with your unique needs.

Always speak with your doctor and your surgeon if you have any questions or concerns.

The cost of breast reconstruction surgery is dependent on your specific requirements and circumstances. We invite you to speak with our surgeons to discuss associated fees.

Our Breast Reconstruction
Plastic Surgeon

We invite you to speak to our specialised breast reconstruction surgeon in Melbourne A/Prof Shayan to learn more about this procedure or to book a consultation.

A/Prof Shayan is an expert microsurgeon and the Director of the O’Brien Institute (formerly the Bernard O’Brien Institute for Microsurgery) Department of St Vincent’s Institute for Medical Research.

A/Prof Shayan is passionate about using research and reconstructive surgery to help patients overcome the after-effects of cancer treatment, including those effects due to mastectomy surgery and radiotherapy tissue injury.

Associate Professor Ramin Shayan

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