Breast reconstruction is a reconstruction of the breast using surgery and this is done after removal or eradication of the entire breast (mastectomy) or part of the breast.
Breast reconstruction can be done at the same time as breast cancer surgery or after several months and the goal of breast reconstruction surgery is to restore the shape and the appearance of the breast after eradication.
There are many options available for breast reconstruction surgery and the surgeon is responsible for choosing the most appropriate method for the patient depending on the patient's health status and physical ability.
Types of breast reconstruction
There are two types of breast reconstruction:
- Implant reconstruction: Inserting an implant that's filled with salt water or silicone gel and this implant has different shapes and sizes to suit all bodies.
- Autologous or "flap" reconstruction: the tissues are taken from many places of the patient's body such as the abdomen, back, or thighs, and sometimes plastic surgeon uses both methods to get the best result.
Comparison between Implant reconstruction and Autologous or "flap" reconstruction
- Implant reconstruction is less capable of simulating the appearance of the natural breast while the flap reconstruction is more able to simulate the shape and the appearance of the natural breast.
- The time of surgery in Implant reconstruction is less than the time of surgery in flap reconstruction.
- Implant reconstruction may need to be replaced over time and therefore needs to do surgery again, while flap reconstruction does not require replacement or other surgeries.
- Scars in the case of Implant reconstruction are much less than scars in case of flap reconstruction.
Side effects of breast reconstruction surgery
- Infection: Infection can happen with any surgery so the wound must be well cared for in order to avoid any complications through the use of antibiotics.
- Pain: The patient feels pain after breast reconstruction surgery and this pain varies from one patient to another and the surgeon recommends taking painkillers to relieve the pain.
- Itching: The patient feels itching but you should avoid doing it to avoid complications and plastic surgeon recommends using ointments to reduce itching.
- Fluid build-up in the breast or the donor site (for a tissue flap).
- Loss of or changes in nipple and breast sensation.