The psychological impact of losing a breast varies but for most women it means some form of grieving. Breast reconstruction can alleviate the sense of deformity that may develop after a mastectomy. It is considered an integral part of the management of patients with Breast Cancer and this option should be discussed prior to any breast surgery. Remember rather a delay of a day or two to determine what your surgical options as opposed to a lifetime with one or no breast. Cancer diagnosis does not mean that you need surgery that very day. There is no such thing as an emergency mastectomy, and there is always time to get advice or a second opinion and be sure of your options.
Why do we do reconstruction?
When do we do it?
Breast reconstruction can be done immediately after the mastectomy or lumpectomy. It can also be delayed for a few months or even longer. The benefits of having reconstructive surgery at the time of the mastectomy are obvious in that it helps to preserve body image. Having this procedure depends on the patient’s age, the size and location of the tumour and the stage of the disease.
How do we do reconstruction?
The most common reconstructive techniques involve using the woman’s own tissue to rebuild the breast (autologous flap) or having a silicone or saline implant. Despite the bad publicity silicone implants have had in the past, there is no scientific evidence that they may cause cancer and certain immune system disorders. The goal of reconstructive surgery is to obtain symmetry for the breasts therefore this can involve surgery to the other breast too, in the form of reduction, augmentation, mastopexy or prophylactic mastectomy and reconstruction. Even breast conserving procedures should be done so as to achieve the best cosmetic result. All women are entitled to a cosmetic result whether they have surgery for benign breast problems or cancer.