October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and one of Dr. Sally Ng’s specialties is breast reconstruction following a mastectomy. If you have had the traumatic experience of losing one, or both, of your breasts during cancer treatment, reconstruction can help you feel more like yourself again and assist in regaining some feelings of femininity and connection with your body.
Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure that replaces a missing breast or breasts. It is often done during a mastectomy but can also be performed months or even years after the initial surgical removal. Indeed, many patients opt to postpone reconstruction until the end of their cancer treatment. Depending on your medical history and other factors, Dr. Sally Ng can help you decide when to undergo reconstructive surgery.
What To Know About Breast Reconstruction Surgery
If you have undergone a mastectomy during breast cancer treatment and are considering reconstruction, there are a few things you need to know about your surgical options. First, you should discuss your expectations with your plastic surgeon. While there are many reasons to have breast reconstruction, it is important to understand the risks and benefits of this procedure. You also need to be aware of the recovery time. The recovery period can be several weeks or even months. For more information about what to expect during recovery, please have a look at our earlier blog focusing specifically on the recovery process following breast reconstruction surgery.
How Is Breast Reconstruction Performed?
There are two main types of breast reconstruction procedures: flap reconstruction and implant-based reconstruction. As the name implies, implant-based reconstruction involves inserting a breast implant into the chest to create a new breast shape. In this type of surgery, a tissue expander may be used to create a pocket of space before the insertion of the implant. This method is generally used in patients who undergo reconstruction during their mastectomy (although this is not a hard and fast rule).
Flap reconstruction involves using the patient’s tissue in the reconstruction process. The flaps are made from skin, fat, or muscle. The surgeon may use a combination of tissues to create the reconstruction, often taken from the back, thighs, abdomen, or buttocks. This is a complex and complicated surgical procedure involving not only tissue replacement but also the connection of blood vessels in the chest to the newly placed tissue. Both flap reconstruction and implant-based reconstruction are effective treatments and can help you regain feelings of ownership over your body following the trauma of a mastectomy.
What are the Benefits of Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
Some women may feel they need reconstruction to regain their confidence following a mastectomy. Others may feel it will help them to reclaim ownership of their body following the trauma of cancer treatment. Whatever a person’s reasons for wanting a reconstruction, Dr. Sally Ng and her team will ensure that all options are fully explored, and the best course of action is developed in partnership with the patient.
When Is The Best Time for Breast Reconstruction?
As mentioned, breast reconstruction can be performed either during a mastectomy or following the conclusion of cancer treatment. Breast reconstruction is a highly personal decision, so it is entirely up to the patient to decide when to have their reconstruction. If you’re considering breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, talk to us about the pros and cons of each surgical approach so that we can help you decide on a treatment plan that suits your needs and desires.
How Can We Help?
Dr. Sally Ng states that breast reconstruction after cancer treatment is the most rewarding surgery that she performs. Enabling women to reclaim their confidence and celebrate their femininity is deeply satisfying, and something that all our staff are passionate about. Because reconstructive surgery is very personal, Dr. Sally Ng will discuss expectations and procedures in detail, and ensure that you have ample opportunity to ask questions and explore your options. We know just how stressful a cancer diagnosis can be, and we welcome all our patients with empathy and compassion.
For more information about breast reconstruction with Dr Sally Ng, please see here.
To make an appointment or discuss your treatment options with us, please call (03) 9587 2048, or use the contact form on our website.