Breast reconstruction: What you need to know
Posted on 25 August 2015
If you’ve had a breast removed, breast reconstruction surgery can restore symmetry to your chest and improve your self-esteem and quality of life. Specialist plastic surgeon Dr Nicolette Landman from Mediclinic Midstream answers a few questions.
What are the most common types of breast reconstruction surgeries and which is best?
Breast reconstruction can either be done as immediate reconstruction (at the same time as the mastectomy) or as delayed reconstruction (after chemotherapy treatment and/or radiation, or even years after a mastectomy).
The three main types of breast reconstruction surgery are:
- autologous reconstruction, where the patient’s own tissue is used to recreate the breast
- prosthetic reconstruction, using an implant
- a combination of the two, using the patient’s own tissue and an implant placement.
The type of reconstruction a patient is best suited for remains very individual. After a consultation your plastic and reconstructive surgeon will explain the different options applicable to you, as well as the pros and cons of each option.
What is the difference between prosthetic or autologous options, and how will I know which will suit me?
This is best discussed between the patient and the reconstructive surgeon. Factors to consider include:
- the type of mastectomy or cancer the patient had
- whether the patient has had radiotherapy
- the patient’s general health (whether they have other diseases or illnesses)
- the patient’s general build
- The size and shape of the remaining breast.
The end goal is to have a safe procedure that offers the patient as much symmetry as possible when she is wearing clothes or underwear. The results that can be obtained these days are quite amazing – sometimes you can hardly tell the difference.