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Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgery and Its Outcomes

Breast reconstruction, as the name suggests, is the rebuilding of the breast in women. The reconstruction surgery is done after a mastectomy, which is the surgical removal of one or both breasts.

Types of Breast Reconstruction

There are primarily three different types:

  • Using only an implant:

    It involves reconstructing the breast with only an implant. This makes the breasts look close to the natural shape, but firmer and moves less as compared to natural breasts.

    Implant reconstruction is usually preferred in women with small and firmer breasts. The breasts reconstructed this way do not droop with age and look higher than normal. There is no set lifespan for this type of reconstruction, but it usually, needs to be replaced at some point in the future.

  • Tissue flap:

    This technique involves reconstruction using one’s own tissue. The tissue can be taken from your fat, or muscles of the back, lower abdomen, inner thigh, or buttocks.

    Women with moderate to large-sized breasts should opt for this type of reconstruction. Though this technique takes a longer time during surgery and recovery, further surgeries may not be required.

  • A combination of both:

    In some cases, the doctor may recommend using both – an implant as well as your own tissue for breast conserving surgery.

When is breast reconstruction surgery needed?

As already mentioned earlier, it is most commonly done after a mastectomy. Mastectomy is the surgical removal of one or both the breasts and is usually done in women suffering from breast cancer, or those at high risk of developing it.

Breast reconstruction may also be done following a lumpectomy, which is the removal of a part of the breast for reasons like breast cancer. Besides, reconstruction surgery can be done in any woman suffering from a congenital deformity, or unpleasant size or shape of the breasts to give a desired look to the breasts.

Following a breast removal, it is normal for many women to feel self-conscious, anxious, or even depressed. Having one or both the breasts removed can have a direct effect on self-esteem and confidence as breasts are one of the most significant aspects of sexuality and identity. To overcome this, breast reconstruction is done.

Immediate vs Delayed reconstruction:

The timing of breast reconstruction depends on several factors. In some cases, the surgery may be done immediately following mastectomy, while it may be delayed in some other cases. Breast reconstruction can also be done even months or years following mastectomy or lumpectomy. Though there is no evidence to suggest that one is better than the other, delayed reconstruction is preferred in patients with high risk (conditions like obesity, diabetes or if the person is a smoker, etc). Delayed surgery is also more challenging than an immediate one.

Outcome and concerns:

The outcome of most reconstruction surgeries is an aesthetic and pleasing breast mound. The texture and look may be similar to natural breasts, but it may feel numb and insensitive to touch, heat, cold, etc. Other than that, it gives the aesthetic appeal close to that of a natural breast.

There are many myths surrounding breast reconstruction. Quite a lot of people have the misconception that having breast reconstruction surgery increases the risk of occurrence or recurrence of breast cancer. But it is not so and there is no direct link between breast tumour and reconstruction surgery.

Many women are also afraid of implants causing pain. However, with the aid of technology, there is an excellent quality of implants available which reduce the risk of pain, especially when the implant is wrapped in Acellular Dermal Matrix and used for reconstruction.

Thus, breast reconstruction surgery is not as risky as most people think and mostly has very positive outcomes. It boosts the self-esteem of the person and imparts a sense of wholeness and well-being.

Cytecare is one of the leading hospitals in Bangalore when it comes to breast cancer treatment and breast reconstruction surgeries. Dr Poovamma C U, the Senior Consultant and Director – Breast Oncology of Cytecare, has over 13 years of experience in dealing with Breast oncology and Breast Surgeries.

Cytecare provides you with comprehensive and holistic treatment and cares with services including breast cancer risk assessment and screening, breast imaging, breast cancer surgery (lumpectomy, mastectomy), and support services for women living with breast cancer.

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