Dr David Campbell
MB BS FRACS
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon
149 Wickham Terrace Brisbane
(07) 3839 7800
Who can benefit?
Breast reconstruction is commonly done to replace a breast (or part of one) removed for cancer or disease. Similar techniques can also be used to construct a breast which never developed properly, or to improve the symmetry when the breasts did not develop the same.
When should you consider breast reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction for cancer should ideally be considered before the breast tissue is removed. Depending on many circumstances, it may be best to reconstruct the breast at the time of mastectomy (removal), or to defer reconstruction until a while later, once all the initial cancer treatment is behind you. Feel free to discuss the pros and cons of these options at your consultation.
If you only need part of the breast removed for cancer, it may be possible for Dr Campbell, in conjunction with your breast cancer surgeon, to design the removal around one of the many breast reduction techniques, to give a better shape to the breast tissue left behind. If this is planned at the time of the original surgery, it may reduce the need for reconstruction later.
What options are there?
Breast reconstruction is a diverse area, with many options available. The two main ways to replace breast tissue are using tissue from somewhere else on your body, or implanting a prosthesis. The best option for you will depend on many factors, including the size of breast to be made, the amount and quality of tissues in the areas available for donating tissue (eg tummy or back), and any other treatment you may have had or need, such as radiotherapy. Deciding on the best option for you is best done after a detailed consultation.
Recent advances using tummy skin!
Using tissue from the tummy has been popular for many years, and has many advantages, including giving you a "Tummy Tuck" at the same time. It can however have some problems, such as weakness in the tummy muscles afterwards, which can limit some activities, and can lead to a bulge in the tummy. This is because part or all of the long tummy muscles (rectus abdominis) are usually taken with the skin and fat, and moved up to the new breast. This procedure is called the TRAM flap.
To help to overcome this weakness in the tummy, a modified operation has been designed to leave the muscles behind in the tummy, where they are most needed, but still allowing about the same amount of tissue to be taken up to the new breast. This is called the DIEP flap. Dr Campbell has undergone training in this new technique, from one of it's designers in New Orleans, as well as in one of the major Plastic Surgery units in the UK to popularise this technique (Canniesburn Hospital, Glasgow). Most people who are suitable for a TRAM flap will also be suitable for the new DIEP flap.
Using your own tissue from the tummy to reconstruct your breast involves an operation lasting about 6 hours, and typically a 5 - 7 day stay in hospital. One aspect of this option which many women like is that you have a tummy tuck in the process of taking the tissue from your tummy.
Using a prosthesis, on the other hand, typically requires a 2 - 3 hour operation, and 2 - 5 days in hospital..
Are there any risks?
If anyone tells you about surgery with no risks, you should wonder what you are not being told. You need to make an informed decision about whether the potential benefits of surgery justify these inevitable risks. It is also important that you are in the hands of someone with a breadth of skills and training to foresee and prevent problems, and to deal with them if they do unfortunately arise.
Breast reconstruction surgery does leave scars on the breasts. The exact position of these depends on the type of reconstruction you have. These scars will usually go through a phase of being a bit red and firm initially, but this will usually improve and fade over several months. On some occasions, these scars may become more thickened and red than usual. It is not always possible to predict who this will happen to. It is important that if this does occur, you should start early to try to deal with the problem using the range of scar control measures which your plastic surgeon can offer.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all potential risks with this surgery. There are a number of general risks associated with any surgery such as wound infections, wound healing problems, bleeding, blood clots and anaesthetic complications. Further information about the risks of surgery will be covered in your consultation, and additional written information given to you at that time.
More information on Breast Reconstruction
Suite 82, Level 8, Morris Towers, 149 Wickham Terrace, Brisbane Qld 4000
Phone: (07) 3839 7800
Fax: (07) 3839 4334
Also Consulting at:
Emerald Medical Group - Superclinic. Pilot Farm Road, Emerald, Qld 4720 Ph: (07) 3839 7800
Bywater Medical Centre, Canossa, 169 17- Mile Rocks Road, Oxley, Qld. 4120 Ph: (07) 3839 7800
Copyrightę 2016 David