Breast reconstruction is a complex operation that consists of several surgical steps aimed at “re-creating” the breast, shaping and achieving breast symmetry. Modern aesthetic surgery makes it possible to restore the breast after mastectomy.
The operation can be performed simultaneously with the mastectomy, ie the removal of the breast, but also later when the patient is ready for reconstruction. There are several methods for breast reconstruction. Implant reconstruction is the most widely used, but breast tissue can also be reconstructed with tissue taken form patient’s own body (flap reconstruction). Recently autologous fat transplantation is gaining popularity as a method for reconstruction.
After consultation, physical examination and analysis of medical history, Dr. Džepina will recommend the best method in order to achieve the ideal reconstruction effect. Patients receive all the necessary information for preoperative preparation, postoperative care, as well as details about the course of the surgery.
Candidates for breast reconstruction are women who are able to cope well with diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, they do not have additional medical conditions or other illnesses that may impair healing, and they have a positive outlook and realistic goals for restoring their breast and body image.
Breast reconstruction can be done immediately after breast removal or after a certain time when the patient decides that she is ready for surgery.
There are two basic approaches to reconstructive surgery; technique based on implant reconstruction or reconstruction using patient’s own tissue. When standard implant reconstruction is not possible because of the lack of tissue and skin after breast removal, the first step is to place a tissue expander, to gain sufficient skin volume, after which the implant is placed. In this way skin is gradually expanded until there is sufficient space to use the implant.
In the case of breast reconstruction using one’s own tissue, this tissue is usually taken from the back, abdomen, buttocks, or inner thighs. Tissue flap is carefully shaped in the form of the patients breast. In the case of fat transfer and reconstruction with this method of fat transplantation, adipose tissue is taken from the different areas of the body and placed into the area to be reconstructed. It is usually necessary to carry out this procedure several times in order to achieve a satisfactory result.
Reconstruction of the nipple and areola should be done after three months when final position of reconstructed breast is reached. This reconstruction is usually done with a local flap for the nipple and tattoo for the areola. Additional procedures may be necessary to achieve balance and symmetry.
Recovery varies depending upon the procedure and the individual patient. Implant reconstruction patients generally return to normal activities more quickly than autologous breast reconstruction patients. Dr. Džepina will be with you every step of the way during your recovery process.
After implant reconstruction, patients usually stay one day in postoperative care at the clinic. Autologous tissue reconstruction is much more complex procedures requiring longer stay in the clinic and a prolonged recovery time. In all cases of breast reconstruction it is imperative to wear postoperative supportive bra for 6 weeks after surgery.
Return to light regular activities is possible in two weeks and to work in 4 weeks although for less physically demanding occupations, some are able to return as early as 3 weeks postoperatively. Light exercise (cardio without impact) may be resumed at approximately the two weeks point, and more vigorous physical activity may commence four weeks after breast reconstruction surgery. Strength training that excludes pectoralis muscle contraction (including lower body, core, and biceps/triceps toning with arms held below 45 degrees) may resume after 14 – 21 days.
Breast reconstruction after a mastectomy is your best option for restoring a natural and symmetric breast to maintain your sense of wellness, natural appearance and femininity while avoiding postoperative self-consciousness about your appearance or discomfort due to asymmetry and scarring.
Džepina Clinic provides different methods of payment to its patients. The price of the breast reconstruction operation is available in the price list of the Džepina Clinic.
Breast reconstruction is not just an aesthetic surgical procedure. A woman’s breasts are integral to her sense of self and a diagnosis of breast cancer is life changing. Breast reconstruction helps to restore both physical and emotional balance after the surgical treatment of breast cancer.
Talk openly with someone who understands you and make an informed decision.
Dr. Dzepina's goal is to make you feel good in your body.
Simply through this conversation, you can realise what is really “normal” and what can be the realistic outcome of the operation.