Breast Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction surgery unfortunately is incredibly common today. The reason for this surgery is mostly due to infections, disease and cancer of the breasts. As a result of our lifestyle, humans are becoming sicker which can result in not only detrimental damage to the body but also to the breasts.

Breast cancer has become extremely common and because of this, mastectomies have followed in its footsteps. Following a mastectomy, which is the removal of the breast either as a preventative measure to prevent breast cancer, but also as a treatment to help remove cancer cells and stop them from spreading to the rest of the body, a mastectomy can leave a woman feeling less feminine and the loss of a breast or both breasts can have devastating consequences for the individual’s self esteem and confidence.

Why have Breast Reconstruction Surgery?

A breast reconstruction can get you back on track to feeling; healthy, sexy and confident.

Breast reconstruction surgery is an elective plastic surgery and it is used to rebuild the breast, building on the foundations that have been left behind, building the breast to its original size and shape.

Breast reconstruction can be done in one of two ways. The first technique is to remove the left over fatty tissue and skin of the breast and use an implant to bring the breast back up to its original size and shape. The second technique is where the surgeon will use fat transfer which is where fat from other parts of the body are used into the breast, however this technique can only be used if the nipple and areola is still intact.

The breast reconstruction takes place in two stages, which are both completed under general anaesthetic. The first stage is where your surgeon will place a small ‘tissue expander’ under the chest muscle and skin. This is done via a small incision in the natural crease underneath your breast. This tissue expander can almost be compared to a balloon and is made out of silicone. This tissue expander will have very little effect on how your breasts appear at first.

After around 14 to 21 days, you have to go back to see your surgeon who will inject a small amount of saline into a valve which is connected to the tissue expander. The injection of saline forces the tissue expander to increase gradually, slowly pushing the tissue around it to ensure that there is enough space for the breast implants. Once the surgeon has injected the tissue expander to the size of your choice, then the surgeon will stop and you will have to wait between one month and three months to ensure that the skin has been fully stretched out.

At the end of the three-month stretching period, stage two of the process begins. Stage two is the implant surgery. The surgeon will re-open the incision sight and remove the tissue expander. The surgeon will then replace it with the same shape and size breast implant. The implant will be placed and then the muscle layers will be surgically sutured to ensure that the implants do not move.

As this is serious surgery, it must be completed under a general anaesthetic and the individual must stay in hospital for up to a week after having the procedure. This hospital stay is to ensure no complications arise after the surgery. In addition, small drains will be placed inside the wound. This is to ensure that there is no fluid build-up around the breast. This will usually be removed, once the drain runs clear of blood, before going home.

Risks and Complications

Generally, modern day surgery is considered safe.

Breast reconstruction surgery has its risks and complications like all other surgeries, which must be conducted under general anaesthetic. The general anaesthetic itself has numerous risks that include; suppressed breathing, blood clots in the legs, blood clots in the lungs, heart failure and even death. Approximately one-third of patients who receive an anaesthetic during surgery will experience “anaesthesia sickness” or post-operative nausea and vomiting (POVN).

The risks and complications of having breast reconstructive surgery include:

Infection is a potential risk and if not treated immediately, can result in devastating consequences.
Infection is usually treated with a course of antibiotics, however if the infection spreads from the wound into the breast and around the breast implant itself, this can result in the implant having to be removed and the whole procedure having to be conducted again from scratch, after the infection clears up and your body has recovered.

Keloid scarring is another complication. Keloid is where the scar becomes raised and red, resulting in a very sore, ugly looking scar which usually results in the scar having to be removed and the incision line having to be re stitched.

Scar tissue can be a serious complication. As the body tries to heal itself, it forms scar tissue over the implant. Usually, the scar tissue is broken down after time, however some individuals are not as lucky and the scar tissue can start squeezing and constricting the implant resulting in the implant changing shape and causing your breasts to look uneven. If this happens the scar tissue will have to be surgically removed along with the implant.

Q. How long does breast reconstruction surgery take?

A. Every surgeon is different however the operation should not take more than two hours depending if there are any complications.

Q. Once I have the tissue expander in, will I look like I have breasts?

A. Unfortunately, having the tissue expander under your chest muscle will not make a difference as it is stretching the skin underneath the check muscle. As you reach the end of the expanding process, you will just start to notice a bulge in that area.

Q. Will my breast implants leak?

A. The statistics show that 1 in every 10 women will have a leakage or break in their implants in the first 10 years of having the surgery; this is due to natural wear a tear. If this does happen, then you will need to seek medical advice immediately as silicone bleeding can occur whereby the implants leak molecules of silicone into the blood stream. As the implants are so close to the lymph nodes under the arm pit, if the silicone molecules reach the lymph nodes, then this can cause redness and swelling.

Breast cancer awareness month October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month October 23, 2020 - You may have noticed a bunch of our Blogs this month are about boobs, boobs, and more boobs! We have highlighted some of our fave and Australia’s best specialist plastic surgeons and their expertise in the field of breast surgery. You’ll find the links at the end of this article. But here at Plastic Surgery Hub, we also care about women’s health. The month of October is Australia’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This provides a reminder and an opportunity for us to focus on breast cancer and its impact on those affected by the disease in our community. Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among Australian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). The good news is survival rates continue to improve in Australia with 89 out of every 100 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer now surviving five or more years beyond diagnosis. Please consider taking the time this month to find out what you need to know about breast awareness and share this important information with your family, friends and colleagues. You can also donate to the McGrath Foundation here. Here’s a link to some of our breast (or should I say best breast) blogs A Range of Breast […]
A Range of Breast Procedures with Dr Mark Gianoutsos October 22, 2020 - Dr Mark Gianoutsos is one of Australia’s most highly regarded specialist plastic surgeons. Dr Gianoutsos’ qualifications are too long to list here; but suffice to say he is an Examiner in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons from 2011 and Deputy Senior Examiner in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons from 2017. The philosophy of Mark Gianoutsos’ practice is always to treat patients as they would wish to be treated themselves. That is, with expertise, care, professionalism, respect and discretion. It is important that a patient knows that he or she is going to be treated as a unique individual by the surgeon and all members of his team. Breast Procedures with Dr Mark Gianoutsos The aim of any breast procedure is to give a woman’s body better balance and proportion and to feel confident and happy with your choice and your body. Any breast procedure aims to give a better overall proportion to the body, but to also provide a better balance and contour to the breasts themselves. Types of Breast Surgery with Dr Mark Gianoutsos Breast procedures must be carefully tailored to individual wishes, as well as breast and body […]
psychological benefits of surgery The Potential of Psychological Benefits of Surgery August 5, 2020 - So, you’re thinking of surgery. Perhaps rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, a facelift, or any other surgery that you choose with the desired outcome of looking better. But what you may or may not realise is the likelihood that you will not only look better, you can potentially feel better about yourself after surgery. We take a look at the potential of psychological benefits of surgery. An in-depth study published by APS (Association for Psychological Science) titled the Psychological Effects of Aesthetic Surgery revealed that there are indeed many potential positive psychological benefits under-going aesthetic surgery. While these benefits are likely, they come with a few caveats, such as the expectations you would have in relation to the outcomes of your surgery. Some of the wide range of benefits identified for those that undergo an elective surgery to address aesthetic concerns include the more obvious benefits, such as an increase in self-esteem and confidence that aesthetic surgery can give you. Some of the other cited benefits vary across a wide range of outcomes, though they are primarily, positive psychologically. These outcomes can include a decrease in social anxiety, a lessening of feelings of depression, an increase in goal attainment, a general sense […]
What Makes Hunter Plastic Surgery Different? What Makes Hunter Plastic Surgery Different? July 26, 2020 - Dr Nicholas Moncrieff is one of Australia’s most well known breast and body focussed Plastic Surgeons. He offers surgery for women only and has his focuses exclusively on breast reductions, augmentations and lifts, along with tummy tucks and body lifting procedures. But what makes Hunter Plastic Surgery different from other options? While based in Newcastle NSW, Dr Moncrieff regularly operates on women from all around Australia, including many women who have seen results on his previous patients in their private Facebook group. Hunter Plastic Surgery – The Five Star Difference Hunter Plastic Surgery say there are five main reasons why their patients are so happy. Specialist Plastic Surgeon – If you want the best results for your breast or body surgery you’ve got to employ the best surgeon for the job. That means a Specialist Plastic Surgeon. Don’t be food by the term “Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon”. Only Specialist Plastic Surgeons complete the extensive training that gives them the knowledge and experience required to get the best results. Breast and Body Experts – Dr Moncrieff and his team at Hunter Plastic Surgery exclusively provide breast and body surgery for women. That’s it. That’s what they do. They focus on these areas […]
Dr Scott Turner Dr Scott J Turner – Renowned Breast Enhancement Specialist July 19, 2020 - With summer just around the corner, now is the ideal time to research your options if you are considering breast augmentation. Dr Scott J. Turner – Renowned Breast Enhancement Specialist is one of Australia’s most qualified plastic surgeons with decades of experience in many procedures. Over the years, Dr Turner has become most-well known for his speciality of offering the finest results for breast aesthetics. For many women this includes adding volume or enhancing the breast shape, while for others, seeking to reduce the size of their breasts is desirable. Lifting and enhancing your breasts can also add to the general attractiveness of the breasts. Regardless of your aims, Dr Turner and his team of highly qualified and talented staff understand that everyone is different, and everyone requires individual attention and a detailed formulation that will help you achieve the best outcome possible for you. Detailed, Personal Assessment Aided With The Latest Technology Dr Turner’s practice also offers personal assessments with the latest 3D technology. This allows for a detailed, anatomical assessment of your breasts, while also allowing you to choose the exact right implant for your needs, should you be considering breast augmentation. This technical-based assessment can also assist […]
Oncoplastic Surgery What is Oncoplastic Surgery? Reconstructive Surgery After Cancer… May 6, 2019 - Firstly, exactly what is “Oncoplastic Surgery”? Oncoplastic Surgery is the use of “Plastic and Reconstructive” surgical techniques in the treatment of cancer. It applies to all areas of cancer where plastic surgery techniques are used to remove a cancer with minimal negative functional and cosmetic effect or to repair and reconstruct such negative effects after the removal of a cancer. It has application in almost all areas of the body, from the more simple situations, such as skin cancers, though to the most complicated situations, such as major head and neck cancers and intra- abdominal and pelvic cancers. Breast reconstruction surgery has been the domain of Plastic Surgeons for over 40 years. Plastic surgeons have developed a variety of techniques of reconstruction to best suit individual patient needs after mastectomy. These include Tissue Expansion Reconstruction, Prosthetic Reconstruction, Flap Reconstruction, Microvascular Flap Reconstruction and Fat Transfer Reconstruction along with Nipple/Areolar Reconstruction. Recently the term “Oncoplastic Breast Surgery” has become associated with breast cancer treatment. (It is important to be aware that not all surgeons performing oncoplastic breast surgery are Plastic Surgeons.) Given the incidence of breast cancer, breast reconstruction has an ongoing and increasing place in the management of breast cancer […]
Understanding, compassion, listening – when surgeons go the extra mile… November 28, 2018 - Plastic or cosmetic surgery can be a massively daunting experience. It can be extremely overwhelming and downright scary. For some patients, finding a plastic surgeon they can not only trust to do a good job and get them awesome results but is also caring, considerate and empathetic of their situation is a little harder to find. While it’s an extremely personal decision, making sure you are able to fully communicate and express your concerns is essential in ensuring you get the best results. This can be why some women patients feel more comfortable with a female surgeon. We spoke to Dr Amira Sanki, Sydney Plastic Surgeon, about how she manages patient expectations and how important it is for patients to trust their surgeon. If you google Dr Amira Sanki you’ll find no shortage of raving fans. Perhaps 90% of her patients use the word “amazing” to describe her and all of them describe how she surpassed their expectations. Quite a few call her their friend, and many suggest she changed their life. I’ve chatted with Dr Sanki myself and it’s evident that each and every patient is special to her, and she is without a doubt one of the most […]
Comprehensive Breast Surgery By Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Eddie Cheng August 21, 2018 - As part of our job here at the Hub we’re constantly researching and getting out and meeting new plastic surgeons, most of whom we’ve heard about from happy patients or industry colleagues. Dr Eddie Cheng based in Brisbane QLD is one of these surgeons, and while this FRACS surgeon is fully trained and experienced in all plastic and cosmetic surgeries I chatted to him about why he’s considered one of the best specialist breast surgeons around. Beautiful, natural results Dr Cheng is known for his natural looking results and says he draws from both his reconstructive and cosmetic background to get the most beautiful breasts possible for each patient. “Results are tailored to your physical structure, needs, goals and desires. I work with a supportive team of patient coordinators and plastic surgery nurses, who are highly experienced in managing the complexities of each individual situation.” Dr Cheng is also highly regarded for his ability to listen to and identify what each patient wants and needs and working with them to achieve their own personal goals. He understands that each patient has unique physical characteristics and combines that with his aesthetic eye and technical expertise to ensure each patient reaches their […]
Breast Cancer Patients Wanting Breast Reconstruction July 16, 2018 - Breast reconstruction is often a difficult and emotional surgical journey. Dr Matthew Peters from Valley Plastic Surgery in Brisbane QLD counts breast reconstruction as one of his specialties and says there are several things a breast reconstruction patient must think about when considering this surgery. The first step is to consult with a supportive plastic surgeon who is able to guide you through the best reconstructive options for you and what each step of your reconstruction journey will entail. Dr Peters has provided the below general information regarding breast reconstruction in the hope it might help some patients prepare for the process a little better. Being diagnosed with breast cancer is often extremely difficult for a person to get their head around. For some people the next devastating blow is the loss of one or both breasts if a mastectomy is recommended as the best course of action. Losing your breasts can be difficult particularly for women, however most people accept that if it’s going to save your life then it’s worth doing. The next decision is whether or not to reconstruct the breast/s and if so finding the right plastic and reconstructive surgeon to work with you during this […]
Breast Reconstruction after a Mastectomy January 31, 2018 - Dr Damian Marucci, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon based in Kogarah, Sydney, says breast reconstruction for women after cancer is one of the most important parts of his practice. One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer before they turn 85 and a common part of the process in the fight to survive breast cancer is removing one or both breasts.
I need a boob job I need a boob job, can Medicare help? August 24, 2017 - UPDATED: The rules have changed. Breast augmentation is no longer covered by Medicare except in very specific circumstances. The only time a boob job is covered by Medicare is when it is part of a reconstruction after a mastectomy or other breast cancer treatments. Minor Medicare rebates may in a few cases be available if you have recurring health issues because of the size, position or skin condition of your breasts. So, the popular question of “I need a boob job, can Medicare help?” might not necessarily have the answer that you want. As for Health Insurance companies, they are all different and members have different coverage. It is best to check directly with your health insurance provider to see exactly what you are covered for (make sure you read the fine print). However, if you do need breast reconstruction procedures for any of the following make sure you check the Medicare rebates listed below: Bilateral Breast Reduction (Item no. 45520) – Medicare Rebate is $675.35 (1 side) Tubular Breast Reconstruction (Item no. 45559) – Medicare Rebate is $852.60 (1 side) Breast Augmentation for asymmetry (Item no. 45524) – Medicare Rebate $556.25 (1 side) Breast Implants for breast deformity (Item […]
Free Breast Reconstruction DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction and Finding the Right Surgeon August 17, 2017 - Today’s most advanced breast reconstruction procedure – the DIEP flap – uses a patient’s lower abdominal skin and fat to reconstruct a natural, warm, soft breast after mastectomy. The tissue is transplanted to the chest using microsurgery and is then shaped to form the new breast. Unlike the more widely known TRAM flap procedure which also uses the lower tummy tissue, the DIEP preserves all the abdominal muscles so patients experience less pain, a faster recovery, and have a lower risk of complications with results that mimic a tummy tuck. Although implants are the most commonly performed method of reconstruction worldwide, the DIEP flap is considered today’s “gold standard” for breast reconstruction. After a mastectomy, there is little overlying breast tissue to insulate a breast implant. Because of this, patients who undergo implant reconstruction often complain their breasts feel cold. Generally speaking, the less tissue left behind after the mastectomy, the higher the risk of complications after implant-based breast reconstruction. Thin tissue “padding” over the implant can make implant rippling and breast animation (unnatural breast movement when using the chest muscle) more visible. Implants can also harden over time (known as “capsular contracture”). This may become quite painful for a […]
Free Breast Reconstruction Free Breast Reconstructions for Women with Breast Cancer August 11, 2017 - Hearing you have breast cancer is a devastating blow for any woman. The treatment and journey back to health is usually exhausting, scary and emotional and often requires one or both breasts removed in a mastectomy. Whilst reconstruction after a mastectomy is an option, it is an expensive one and costing up to $20,000 or more many women can’t afford it. Dr Ross Farhadieh, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon based in Sydney & Canberra tells us what many women are not aware of is that you can have the procedure performed for free through the public system at The Canberra hospital. Having her breasts removed can affect a woman’s self-esteem, her sex drive and how she sees herself as a woman. While obviously getting healthy is the most important priority, having your breasts reconstructed afterwards can be the final and important step in being able to move forward with your life. Free Breast Reconstruction Surgery Dr Farhadieh currently performs around two or three major microsurgical breast reconstructions per month at the Canberra Hospital, however says he and his team could do more if they received better funding. “If I have operating theatres and resources, I could do two or three every […]
Boobs Nipple Areola Reconstruction by Medical Cosmetic Tattoo May 17, 2017 - For many breast cancer survivors tattooing may be the final step in their breast reconstruction journey. This often involves creating the illusion of protrusion through the skilful design and application of colour performed by an experienced medical cosmetic tattooist. BREAST CANCER FACTS Sadly one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime and on average 47 women, every day is diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia. Did you know that age is one of the risk factors for developing breast cancer, and more than two in three cases of breast cancer occur in women aged between 40 and 69 years? Early detection is the key, and it is attributed to improved survival rates through regular screening combined with improved treatments outcomes. All that said we still have on average seven women in Australia that die from breast cancer every day. FEELING COMPLETE Nipple areola tattooing is the final step in the breast reconstruction process, and for many women, it will be the very last procedure they undergo to complete their whole breast cancer and reconstructive journey. Some patients feel they have been through enough and just don’t want to have further surgery and choose not to proceed to […]
Nipple Areolar Reconstruction Nipple Areolar Reconstruction April 28, 2017 - For many women the journey from mastectomy to breast reconstruction is not complete until they have had nipple reconstructions performed. Not all women go down this path and many are happy to simply have something to replace their lost breasts in order to feel feminine. However, some women feel that they are not complete without nipple reconstructions since the breasts even after a very good reconstruction will not look natural without nipples and areolas on the breast mounds. For surgeons who perform breast reconstruction, nipple and areola reconstruction improves the aesthetic result and provides a sense of completion. Nevertheless, this should not be the reason to proceed with nipple reconstruction. Nipple Areolar Reconstruction Procedure Nipple reconstruction is usually a simple procedure that can be performed under a local anaesthetic in most cases. There are a variety of techniques described but most involve rearranging the skin and subcutaneous tissue on the breast mound in the position that the nipple needs to be. For a unilateral breast reconstruction the nipple position is either marked to match the other side or placed in a position where one expects to lift the nipple, if a breast lift or reduction is planned for the non-cancer […]
Breast Reconstruction after Mastectomy Breast Reconstruction After Cancer October 22, 2016 - Breast cancer sucks. Unfortunately, as the most common cancer in women today, one in 8 of us will be diagnosed with it by the time we turn 85. It was estimated that around 42 women were diagnosed with breast cancer each day in 2015. Many of these women as part of their treatment will have one or both of their breasts removed in a mastectomy. Whilst it might save their life, it will also change it quite significantly. Having one or both of your breasts removed can change not only your psyche and identity as a woman, it can affect your confidence, self worth and your sex life. Not only that, it can mean your clothes don’t fit any more. Dr Damian Marucci, Cosmetic Plastic Reconstructive Surgeon based in Kogarah in Sydney says, “Breast reconstruction is a surgical process to restore the breast following a mastectomy. It can be performed in a number of ways: with breast implants, the patient’s own skin tissue, or a combination of the two procedures.” Breast Implants After a Mastectomy Breast Implants are the most popular choice for breast reconstruction. Dr Marucci says, “The implant is placed under the skin and muscle of the chest […]
Breast Enhancement Surgery Breast Enhancement Surgery – Information you should Know July 6, 2016 - Over 16000 Breast Enhancements are performed in Australia every year. Find out the information you should know before having a breast enhancement procedure after a mastectomy for reconstruction purposes, to replace already existing implants, or to augment your breast size.
Mastectomy and Reconstruction Mastectomy and Reconstruction – Looking at the Statistics August 28, 2015 - A mastectomy is something most of us don’t really imagine, or hope, will be something we have to undergo. Usually, a mastectomy is performed due to cancer, or the threat of. Unfortunately, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimate that the number of new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in 2015 will be approximately 15,740, with 145 of those males, and 15,600 females. They estimate 3,065 people will die from breast cancer in 2015. There are a few reasons why we might be considering, or forced into having, a mastectomy: breast cancer (usually because it has spread to the lymph nodes or is quite large) family history of breast cancer – preventative (remember Angelina Jolie?) unable to have radiation therapy for cancer (for personal or medical reasons) unsuccessful lumpectomy (surgical operation to remove a cancerous lump in the breast – early stages of cancer). Mastectomies have become more common in recent years for a number of reasons. It is shown that women who undergo a mastectomy greatly reduce their risk of cancer. It also prevents the spread of cancer should you already have it and it is still confined to your breasts. Dr Charles Cope, Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon […]
2 Important Things to Check to Help You Find a Surgeon for Your Breast Cancer 2 Important Things to Check to Help You Find a Surgeon for Your Breast Cancer November 6, 2013 - It is not always easy to find a surgeon that will not only take your medical needs into consideration but will help you to make some important decisions about which procedures you will need. When you have been diagnosed with breast cancer it can be one of the most frightening things in your life. Many things will flood your mind and you may for a time lose focus on what is important. But a good surgeon will help to keep you focused so that you can make the right choices. Surgery is often needed to remove a breast tumour. Options for this include breast-conserving surgery and mastectomy. The breast can be reconstructed at the same time as surgery or later on. Surgery may also be used to check the lymph nodes under the arm for cancer spread. Options for this include a sentinel lymph node biopsy and lymph node dissection. Here are some of the options you may need to discuss with your surgeon: Breast-Conserving Surgery Sometimes called a partial mastectomy, this type of surgery only removes a portion of the affected breast. The size of section to be removed will depend largely on the size and location of the […]

Dr Damian Marucci on Breast Reconstruction

Dr Gavin Sandercoe on Breast Reconstruction

Dr Ross Farhadieh on Breast Reconstruction – The Procedure Explained

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Dr Matthew Peters - Combining artistry with technical skill - Skincare City - […] reconstruction post cancer. And I do a lot of body contouring work and I think out of all of…
  2. A Range of Breast Procedures with Dr Mark Gianoutsos | Plastic Surgery Universe - […] Breast ReconstructionReconstruction following mastectomy is for some patients as vital a consideration as the tumour surgery itself. […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This