Breast reconstruction (Reconstructive Mammoplasty)

Pretty and well shaped breasts represent a symbol of femininity for most women. Loss of one or both breasts can cause serious psychological and mental traumas for women. After mastectomy (breast cancer surgery) many women decide for breast reconstruction. Such a decision is not rare, regardless out of comfort or self-esteem reasons.

Breast reconstruction for women

Prof. Davor Mijatovic, M.D., Ph.D.

Prof. Davor Mijatovic, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Esthetic plastic surgery , Cosmetic surgery
  • National coach for breast reconstruction and cosmetic breast surgery, Croatian Breast Academy, Allergan Foundation
  • Head of Regional Education Centre for breast reconstruction (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece)

How is breast reconstruction surgery done?

1. Reconstruction using abdominal muscle

This autologous breast reconstruction refers to use of your own tissue, i.e. muscles from the lower abdomen. It is usually transferred under the skin without taking it out from abdominal area to breasts, and is then formed into shape of breasts. Finally, the surgeons sutures the incision on the abdomen, and positive result of this intervention is a smaller and thinner belly.

2. Reconstruction using the tissue from the back

The procedure is similar to the one of transferring lower abdomen muscles. Namely, a muscle from the upper part of the back is transferred under the skin, i.e. it is placed to the chest, where it serves a s a pocket for implant placement, or it is just formed into a breast without any implants.

3. Implant reconstruction

Implant reconstruction is a bit simpler procedure than autologus breast reconstruction. Of course, the doctor will firstly check if your body is fit for a surgical procedure of this kind, and will tell you everything about the procedure itself in detail. If your chest tissue is too tough for implant placement, there is a possibility, that the surgeon will first have to implant the so called balloon expanders into your chest, making your tissue more elastic. In case of placement of balloon expanders, the doctor will once a week inject a certain quantity of saline solution, which will gradually make place for silicone implant. Such preparation for implant placement usually lasts from six to eight weeks, and injections being the most unpleasant part of the procedure.

Before a breast reconstruction surgery

What happens before a breast reconstruction surgery?

During extensive consultation with the doctor you will be informed which procedure is the best for you. Before surgical intervention you should think about some things. There are two ways of reconstruction. The first one is reconstruction using your own tissue (autologous reconstruction), while the other one uses implants. For the start you should decide which of the ways would better suite you and what are your whishes. Implants do not give you a natural feeling as live tissue, but implant surgery is much quicker than autologous reconstruction, i.e. reconstruction, using the tissue from the lower abdomen or the back. Such procedures are, of course, much more complex and demanding.

What happens after a breast reconstruction surgery?

Implants are not eternal, and must be replaced each ten years. This means, taking out the old ones and inserting the new ones. To those patients, who will have to come for radiation therapy, we usually advise implant placement. Positive side of breast reconstruction using implants is that in this way, in that place, we prevent repeated occurrence of tumorous abscess, since there is almost no chest tissue. It is important to know that both types of autologous reconstructions last a few hours and both require further procedures. Obstacles for such procedures are excessive smoking, excess body weight, diabetes and blood vascular system diseases.

Results of a breast reconstruction surgery for women

What are the results of a breast reconstruction surgery?

Before you decide for reconstruction, it is good to know, that reconstructions sometimes require more than just one surgical intervention, even if you decide to do reconstruction right after the mastectomy. The reason for it is, that surgeons never simultaneously do the reconstruction of nipple-areolar complex. Firstly we have to pay attention to breast symmetry, since mastectomy completely changes the shape and fullness of breasts. After that is done, we can start with nipple-areolar complex reconstruction. Therefore, we can measure the final result only after multiple procedures and a longer recovery time.

What are the risks of a breast reconstruction surgery?

As with any surgical procedure, there are certain risks, about which you will be informed in detail, during your consultation with the surgeon.

  • Surgery duration: 2 - 3 hours
  • Hospitalization: 2 days
  • Check up and release: 10 - 14 days
  • Note:

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