Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Breast Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction surgery after Mastectomy

After a mastectomy, some women feel that they have lost their femininity. Breast reconstruction surgery offers a solution to those who want to regain the appearance of a full bosom.

Advancements in the procedure have allows Dr Braun to reconstruct the breast right after mastectomy, so women can wake up without ever having to see a missing breast. Breast reconstruction is not considered cosmetic surgery, rather, reconstructive surgery. This procedure has become the most rewarding of all surgical procedures available.

How is Breast Reconstruction Performed?

Breast reconstructive surgery is usually performed in a hospital, under general anaesthesia. This is a major operation that may require more than one procedure.

During the procedure, the affected breast is removed through mastectomy. There are various options to post-mastectomy reconstruction.

The following are the most common forms:

  • Skin expansion – this is the most common technique. It involves skin expansion, combined with insertion of an implant. After the breast is removed, a balloon expander is inserted beneath the skin and chest muscle. Saline is injected periodically to gradually fill the expander. Once the breast tissue has been stretched enough, the expander is removed and a more permanent implant can be placed. The nipple and areola are reconstructed in later procedures.
  • Flap reconstruction – this involves the creation of a skin flap using tissue taken from other parts of the body, like the back, abdomen, or buttocks. This procedure also has its own variations.In one type of flap reconstruction, the tissue remains attached to its original site, which retains its blood supply. The flap, consisting of the skin, fat, and muscle, are tunnelled beneath the skin to the chest. This creates a pocket for the implant or, in some cases, it creates the breast mound itself, in which case, no implant is needed.
  • Another technique involves using tissue that is surgically removed from the abdomen, thighs, or buttocks, which is then transplanted to the chest by reconnecting the blood vessels, through microsurgical technique, to new ones in that region.

It may take up to six weeks to recover from a combined mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery. Most scars should fade over time, but they may take one to two years and never fully disappear.

Often, more than one procedure is required to achieve a natural-looking breast.

Nipple/Areola Reconstruction

The nipple and areola reconstruction represents the final stage of a complete breast reconstruction. The nipple may be reconstructed by using a flap or a graft. Flaps are pieces of tissue that are moved from one location to another with their own blood supply intact. Grafts are pieces of tissue that are completely removed from their own blood supply and rely on the ingrowth of a new blood supply at the new site. Tattooing is generally done after the nipple has been reconstructed to complete breast reconstruction surgery and leave the patient with a ‘normal’ breast.

Plastic Surgeon Dr. Saul Braun operates from the Netcare Rosebank Hospital, situated in the up-market Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg.

Back to Breast Plastic Surgery Procedures.