Reconstructive breast surgery is an extremely complex procedure since an entire team of experts such as oncologist, plastic surgeon, radiologist, psycho-therapist need to take part in the process of treatment and breast reconstruction after mastectomy.
Primary breast reconstruction means that a breast is removed and reconstructed during the same surgery, which is the case with early detected breast cancer and tumors located in particular areas. Secondary breast reconstruction is defined as a reconstructive breast surgery which is performed after the patient has had her breast removed and/or finished with radio or chemotherapy treatments.
Breast reconstruction may be performed in one of the following three ways:
– with implants and tissue expanders
-with implants and patient’s own tissue
-only with patient’s own tissue (TRAM)
Each of the surgeries is performed under full anesthesia and may last 2-6 hours. It is not uncommon that the other breast needs surgical treatment so that a symmetry of both breasts be achieved. It takes 6-12 months of recovery before the patient can undergo a nipple reconstruction. Only then can a right position of nipple-areole complex be precisely determined.
Latest studies suggest that patients with reconstructed breast(s) have a much better survival rate compared to those who had mastectomy with no reconstructive surgery. This implies the importance of psychological stability and self-confidence for patient’s recovery.