PATIENT RESOURCES / DR’s Blog
BRA Day 2014 – Is Breast Reconstruction Right For You?
October 15, 2014 marked the forth annual Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day. The Halton region celebrated BRA Day on October 21, 2014. Barriers to access, awareness and education are the main focus of BRA Day, with discussions and presentations by local experts, reconstructive plastic surgeons, and cancer survivors. Evening discussions included breast cancer education, genetic testing, and surgical breast reconstruction options. The Show and Tell lounge was a private setting for breast cancer patients to have a hands-on look at breast reconstruction, and the different options available, as post-breast cancer patients voluntarily showed and explained their personal breast reconstruction decisions. Prosthetic options, as well as bra support options were also on display to educate patients on the choices available. Stay tuned for BRA Day 2015.
What are the breast reconstruction options available?
Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure often performed to rebuild the shape, symmetry and size of the breasts after surgery from breast cancer, including lumpectomy or mastectomy.
There may be several ways to reconstruct your breast. Your surgeon will discuss the different options with you based on your own personal needs. In general, lumpectomy defects can often be corrected with a scar revision and fat transfer to the breast. For mastectomy defects, the most common option is to use your own tissue or an implant.
What is a flap?
When your own tissue is used (called a flap), there are several options to consider. However, the lower abdomen usually presents the best option for women that have had children. It provides the best natural feel and appearance to the breast. In this setting, your surgeon would perform a DIEP flap that removes the lower abdominal skin and fat, but leaves all the muscles behind. He then performs microsurgery to reconnect the flap to a blood vessel in the chest. However, not everyone is suitable for this surgery, and options from your back and thighs may also be discussed.
What is implant-based breast construction?
Implant-based breast reconstruction usually involves placement of a tissue expander, either at the time of your mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) or sometime after. After the expander has reached its desired size, it is then exchanged for an implant, typically one that is teardrop shaped and made of cohesive gel silicone. This is the same type of implant used in breast augmentation.
What is nipple reconstruction?
Nipple reconstruction is usually done 2-3 months after your breast mound has been created with either your own tissue or a breast augmentation implant. Some refinements to perfect the shape, symmetry and size are also done. This may include breast fat transfer. Finally, tattooing can be done to complete the cosmetic look. The tattooing is not done by Dr Shortt, however he will refer you to experts in that field should you wish.
Balancing procedures can also be done to the opposite breast. This typically includes a breast augmentation, breast lift (mastopexy), or breast reduction.
What to expect in a private consultation with your surgeon?
Your surgeon will meet with you during a consultation to decide on the surgical technique and timing of surgeries that is best suited for your individual needs. Together with your surgeon, you will discuss your medical history, your preferences, body shape, the shape of your other breast, cancer treatment and the stages of reconstructive surgery which may involve future surgical procedures. Your surgeon will also discuss the potential risks or complications that may be involved with your surgery.
To book a consultation with Dr Shortt, click here or telephone 905-849-4282.
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