What is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast Reconstruction is a surgery for women who have undergone mastectomy and had their breasts removed. It is also performed after lumpectomy, when a large part of the tissue is removed and the breast(s) become smaller than the original size. This surgery is performed by a plastic surgeon. The surgeon remodels the breast mound to its actual shape and size. The nipple and the areola can also be added by the surgeon. A patient might need more than one surgery for a proper reconstruction.
Types of breast reconstruction:
- Breast implant – When the breast shape is created using an implant (filled with silicone or saline).
- Using patient’s own tissue – When the breast is created by using tissues, fat, and skin from another part of the patient’s body. This is a more complex surgery.
- Using both, patient’s own tissue and implant – When the breast shape is created using both silicone implants and the tissues, fat, and skin from the patient’s body.
When can I get Breast Reconstruction done?
Breast reconstruction can be done immediately after mastectomy or after some time.
- Immediate reconstruction is done just after mastectomy. In this surgery, you do not get as much scarring as in delayed reconstruction and it gives your breast a better appearance. Sometimes, it is also possible to preserve the nipple.
- Delayed reconstruction can take place any time after the mastectomy is done; the patient can even wait for years before getting a reconstruction done. It does not delay any other cancer treatment such as radio therapy due to the extra time taken in recovering.
Who performs Breast Reconstruction?
The breast reconstruction surgery is performed by a plastic surgeon. Typically, it is performed by the oncoloplastic surgeons, as they are trained in both reconstruction and breast cancer surgery. Sometimes microsurgery is required for breast reconstruction, which is performed by a surgeon who specializes in microsurgery.
What are risks of Breast Reconstruction?
There are several risks related to breast reconstruction surgery.
- The patient may have heart problems or trouble in breathing due to the anaesthesia.
- There is a chance of infection in the wound area, but this can be treated by antibiotics.
- Bleeding or bruising in the area of the surgery and the area from where the tissue was taken.
- Chronic pain after the surgery.
- Scars from the breast reconstruction surgery that do not heal even after a long time, known as keloid scars.
- Seroma or fluid accumulating in the wound area.
What is the cost of Breast Reconstruction?
The cost of Breast reconstruction surgery in India varies from Rs. 100,000 – 300,000. It depends on the type of breast reconstruction surgery performed and also on when is it done – immediately or after some time.