Reforming a breast following mastectomy using an implant. Once the breast tissue is removed a suitable implant is placed as part of the same operation.
A breast reconstruction is an operation used to give a breast mound after a patient has had a mastectomy. It may be done at the time of mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) or may be done as a delayed procedure (delayed reconstruction). Often more than one operation is required to achieve the desired result. There are different types of reconstruction – using an implant or using your own body tissue (autologous).
The decision to have a breast reconstruction is a very personal one. Many people will choose to have one to minimise the psychological burden of having a mastectomy. The decision to have reconstruction can be made either at the time of mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) or can be delayed until after all cancer treatment is complete (delayed reconstruction).
If you are having an implant reconstruction at the same time as a mastectomy, an implant is inserted either under the skin or under the muscle in place of the breast.
If you are having autologous reconstruction, a Plastic Surgeon will mobilise tissue from elsewhere in the body (usually abdomen) and this will be put in place of the breast. If you are to have this procedure the Plastic Surgeon will discuss with you separately what is involved.
There are the usual risks of mastectomy &/or sentinel node biopsy. Additional risks include nipple/areolar/wound edge necrosis. Infection to the implant. Loss of implant. Need for further procedures to achieve the desired cosmetic result. Capsular contracture. Implant associated ALCL (rare).
You are admitted on the day of the operation. You cannot eat or drink for 6 hours before the procedure.
You stay in hospital for two nights. You will have IV antibiotics while in hospital. You will have a drain in that needs to stay until there is less than 30ml per day. The District Nurse will monitor this and remove it. Whilst the drain is in you will need to be on oral antibiotics – a prescription will be given to you before you leave hospital. You will need to take regular pain relief. You will have a follow-up appointment in the rooms in 3 weeks time once your results are available.