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with Mercy Breast Clinic
Breast reconstruction after removal of cancer or other disease is the next big step patients take in their life-changing journey. It can be fraught with concerns about size, shape, materials and the longevity of breast implants. However, breast reconstruction in the 21st Century is something specialists are proud to be a part of, as advances in technology has afforded patients greater choice and end results.
At Mercy Breast clinic, we offer two methods of breast construction: one an implant procedure, and the other constructing a breast from body tissue. Sometimes medical reasons may deem one of these methods unsuitable for you, or you may be given a choice – we are guided by each individual’s situation.
Whilst many patients may be given the choice of breast reconstruction as part of the breast removal operation, sometimes surgeons advise patients to wait a period of time – six to 12months – before undergoing reconstruction. This could be due to any post-surgery radiation and chemotherapy that might be affected by breast reconstruction.
Our specialists will talk you through the best reconstruction options for you, to ensure clarity and transparency throughout the decision process.
If you opt for implant reconstruction, you’ll receive an implant filled with either silicone gel or saline (salt water). The implant will be placed under your pectoral chest muscle. Usually the initial implant is temporary and is gradually filled with saline over a few months to stretch the proctetive muscle layer. The initial implant is then replaced by a permanent implant in a second operation that will take approximately two hours under general anaesthesia. You will spend two to three days resting and recovering in hospital.
A tissue flap is the other option to consider for breast reconstruction. During this procedure, one of our specialists will take tissue from another part of the body such as your tummy or back to reconstruct the breast. This procedure can result in more natural looking breasts however, it is longer than implant surgery. Flap style operations will leave two surgical sites on your body – one where the tissue was removed from (the donor area i.e. your tummy) and one on the reconstructed breast. Whilst scars do fade over time, some may never disappear completely. Some patients also experience problems arising in and around their donor site post-reconstruction i.e. muscle weakness or a hernia. The procedure is often longer than that of implant surgery, with an operation lasting up to six hours and requiring up to seven days recovery in hospital.
Our specialists are on hand to discuss, support and guide you through the best breast reconstruction process. Talk to us, lean on us and ask us questions - it's what we are here for.