Breast Reconstruction Surgery aims to rebuild a woman’s breasts after a Mastectomy. Reconstructive techniques have been developed to provide not only a return to normal clothing and full activities but also a restoration of beauty and femininity.
There are three types of Breast Reconstructive Surgery.
The Prosthetic Reconstruction where artificial implants are used, the Autogenous Reconstruction,which uses fat and tissue from other parts of the body and the latest Fat-transfer technique, using only fat to be injected into the breast without any incisions or scars.
Type of Implants
Prosthetic Reconstruction Implants are expandable and are slowly enlarged over a three to six month period until they are the desired size. This is so the skin can gradually be stretched to accommodate the implant. The outside of the implant is made of high quality silicone and the inside from saline.
Autogenous Reconstruction Implants – This method uses your own fatty tissue and skin from the lower abdomen without the need for an implant and with an added benefit of a full tummy tuck. Due to this better blood supply the flap that is transferred to the chest can be shaped to best match the opposite breast.
Fat-Transfer is an implant free procedure that involves gently removing fat from one area of your body (preferably from the tummy area) and injecting it into the breast .This involves no incisions, no new scars and it recreates a natural feeling breast with normal sensation in the nipples.
At the consultation Mr Ferrando will take your medical history, thoroughly assess you, find out about your expectations of the surgery and explain each stage of the different Breast Reconstruction procedures to you. He will carefully discuss all options, such as implant types most suited to you.
Mr Ferrando will also explain the risks that the contraceptive pill, smoking and other medications can pose to you, and how they can interfere with the General Anaesthetic procedure as well as their effects on the healing process
You will need to bring a pre specified support bra to the clinic. Mr Ferrando will inform you as to the type and size of bra you will require at your final consultation.
Mr Ferrando strongly believes that “good communication and feedback” between himself and his patients helps greatly in assuring the ultimate satisfactory outcome of Reconstructive Surgery.
Prosthetic Reconstruction Implants involves inserting a balloon expander under beneath your skin and chest muscle, through a tiny magnetic valve mechanism buried beneath the skin. Mr Ferrando will periodically inject a salt water solution to gradually fill the expander over several weeks or months. After the skin over the breast area has stretched enough, the expander may be removed and a permanent implant will be inserted. Some expanders are designed to be left in place as the final implant. The nipple and areola are reconstructed in a subsequent procedure.
Autogenous Reconstruction Surgery involves creating a skin flap using tissue from other parts of the body such as the back, abdomen or buttocks. Tissue from the tummy area is most suitable due to it’s estrogen receptors. The flap consisting of skin fat and muscle with its blood supply are placed beneath the skin of the chest, creating a breast mound without the need for an implant. Blood vessels are then reconnected in the chest area.
Fat-Transfer Reconstruction procedure involves removing fat from one area of your body and meticulously injecting it into the breast area. These micro-fat are harvested by gentle liposuction from the stomach or wherever there is fat to spare. As compared to traditional methods of Breast Reconstruction, this involves no incisions, no new scars and no foreign objects.
After Surgery – Recovery
You may feel tired and tender for the first few days after the surgery, with swelling and bruising in the breast area. Mr Ferrando will prescribe you pain relief medication to help ease any discomfort you may experience.
Drainage tubes may be attached to your breasts and will be removed before you leave the clinic. You will need to keep the dressing on for a couple of weeks. Some types of stitches are dissolvable and will disappear over time, while others will need to be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. Hospital time after surgery tissue implants is usually 4 days, where as tissue expander based surgery is shorter.
Patients are recommended to have at least two weeks off work (depending on the type of occupation) to allow sufficient time to rest and recover comfortably at home. Any strenuous exercise or heavy lifting should be avoided for at least six weeks following surgery.
Once the breast has settled into its final shape and size, a nipple areola reconstruction can be performed.
You will need to attend follow up appointments after your surgery, but if you have any questions, or you feel unsure about anything between appointments, please contact Mr Ferrando and he will gladly talk to you. The well being of his patients is very important to him.
Risks and Side Effects
All surgeries carry certain risks and even though they are rare you should be aware of them before making your decision. Mr Ferrando will talk you through any possible risks and side effects at his consultations as they will vary depending on the patient’s body shape, age, condition and lifestyle.