Breast Cancer & Breast Reconstruction Options can simplify difficult decisions

1 Breast Reconstruction Surgery After Breast Cancer

One in every three women is diagnosed with breast-related problems who’re observed to be under 45 years old. The ratio marks a significant increase of rate from one to double in the years to come. Considering the psyche of a female, the loss of one or both the breasts can damage the self-confidence since they are considered to be an integral part of her body. The thought of living without a breast or part of one affects every woman differently and the alternative for one woman won't essentially be right for another. It’s a personal choice, and need not necessarily be easy to make. The end goal of breast reconstruction is to improve well-being and quality of life for women undergoing mastectomy for breast cancer and restoring the breast isn’t really a cosmetic procedure.

Among all the treatments, there’s a larger number when it comes to women who opt for Mastectomy. Between all the women who undergo mastectomies, very few have undergone breast reconstruction. It’s probably to have mastectomy and reconstruction with implants in a single procedure, but usually, mastectomy is done first, with reconstruction following a few months later. With time, the number of mastectomies has risen under the observation at dedicated cancer research centres. The benefits offered under this procedure includes quick recovery, Skin-sparing and nipple sparing mastectomies which is nothing but the preservation of the three-dimensional breast skin envelope so that instant reconstruction can more precisely restore the patient’s pre-operative breast shape. In some cases, if the patient is going through a chemotherapy treatment and radiation, in that case, the reconstruction would be postponed.

Over the past few years, there have been outstanding improvements in breast reconstruction that operate various types of surgical innovations and implants. Each treatment includes certain goals for breast cancer that focus on removal of cancer cells and killing them as quickly as possible, putting an end to the delay or relapse by treating the symptoms immediately when Cancer seems incurable, treating the non-healing wounds/ulcers, improving the breast mound that eventually appears natural without clothing and also normal in appearance under clothing. A woman who’s in need of breast cancer surgery can contentedly realize that she can exist with a recreated breast that looks and feels very natural.

Breast reconstruction and its timely effect –

Immediate reconstruction

  • Usually suitable for patients with early-stage breast cancer, who do not require post-mastectomy radiotherapy. Delayed reconstruction
  • Delayed breast reconstruction is usually retained for patients who will require post-mastectomy radiotherapy. In comparison to immediate reconstruction therapy, delayed reconstruction therapy results are the best. Delayed-Immediate Breast Reconstruction
  • The first stage involves mastectomy and placement of a tissue expander
  • The want for post-mastectomy radiotherapy is then determined based on final pathologic results.

Breast reconstruction can be empowering and for many it is. For most of the patients, the challenge is worth it. But there are some who end up regretting. Some of the challenges that the patients usually face is to accept the rebuilt breasts after removal of the old one due to cancer or may be to prevent the occurrence of the same. Although women tend to accept the change in their body structure, however, they complain of having several side effects. In addition to that, there are several types of reconstruction methods for women to choose in treating their breast cancer. While choosing, it’s always advisable to consider what type is best for you, considering your overall health – issues like smoking or consumption of alcohol, the size and location of the breast, the extent of cancer, body’s willingness to potentially accept more than one surgery as a part of reconstruction, desire to match the look of the replaced breast and most importantly your body’s capacity to react to multiple treatments other than that of cancer.

Be sure to put forth your opinions you have for reconstruction to beware of all the risks and benefits of breast reconstruction procedures. Two main types of operations that can be done to reconstruct your breasts could be – Breast implants and Tissue flap procedures wherein the silicone is used and in tissue flap procedure, your own body tissues are used. Taking the tissues from the abdomen is called TRAM while that from the back is called latissimus dorsi flap. The preparation procedure may take up to 2 hours including giving the anaesthesia and the surgery takes up to 6 hours while the recovery before being transferred to the other room takes close to 2 hours. In some cases where there’s a default in the nipple, the plastic surgeons reattach the nipple from the original breast which is absolutely cancer free. Another option is a prosthetic nipple which can be created by copying the natural nipple and colour which can be glued to the breast.

To Summarize

Breast cancer is the leading cancer today and is increasingly affecting the younger population. The mastectomy defect can be devastating both physically and psychologically. Plastic Surgery for breast reconstruction following mastectomy offers women an opportunity to mollify some of the emotional and aesthetic effects of this devastating disease. With due observation, it has been noticed that a breast reconstruction is an option that significantly improves the self-confidence, quality of life, health, body image and Sexual well-being. 

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