Breast reconstruction is an operation to reconstruct the shape of the removed breast in women who have undergone a mastectomy to treat or prevent breast cancer. Breast reconstruction surgery may show different characteristics depending on the course of the disease and the content of the mastectomy performed.
Breasts can be reconstructed using implants (saline or silicone), or they can also be reconstructed using the autologous tissue method, that is, with the help of tissue taken from the patient’s body. In addition, if the patient’s nipple and areola are not preserved during mastectomy; these structures can also be reconstructed in the final stage of breast reconstruction.
As we mentioned above, there are 2 main methods:
Silicone Breast Prostheses:
In cases where it is not possible to use the patient’s own body tissue in breast reconstruction, silicone breast prostheses are preferred because they do not require long surgery time and are a relatively safe reconstruction option. If the patient’s breast tissue area is not infected, has not received radiotherapy to the breast or chest wall, and has undergone a prophylactic (protective) mastectomy, it is an ideal candidate for breast reconstruction with a silicone breast prosthesis.
In addition, many patients may complain of asymmetry between the two breasts after breast reconstruction. Another advantage of this method is that this procedure can be applied to the other breast to ensure symmetry, if the patient and the doctor have given permission. The disadvantages of this method can be listed as the risk of not giving good results aesthetically, the risk of infection, the risk of skin necrosis, the risk of capsule formation, slippage and asymmetry.
Autogenous Breast Reconstruction:
It is the process of creating breasts with skin, fat and muscle tissue taken from another part of the patient’s own body. One of the most important advantages of autogenous breast reconstruction is that it is more likely to capture a natural image because the patient’s own tissue is used.
In addition, the absence of risks such as infection, capsule formation, skin loss, and the need for silicone replacement is another important advantage of this type of reconstruction.
There are different options for autogenous reconstruction:
TRAM flap and DIEP flap using tissue taken from the abdomen, latissimus dorsi flap made from the back area, TUG flap made from the thigh, gluteal flaps made from the hip are the most important ones. Among these methods, TRAM flap is the most frequently used autogenous breast reconstruction option. You can find out which method is best for you after the interviews and examinations with your doctor.
The answer to this question may vary depending on the course of your disease and the recommendations of your doctor who is responsible for your cancer treatment. Breast reconstruction surgery can be performed immediately during the mastectomy operation, if deemed appropriate by your doctor, this is called immediate reconstruction.
In addition, if you did not know about the existence of such an option or if your doctor did not consider this method suitable for you, the method which we call “delayed reconstruction” can be performed after your mastectomy incisions healed and the cancer treatment is completed. There is no deadline for you to undergo delayed reconstruction surgery. Patients can apply for this surgery months or even years after their mastectomy.