Some women diagnosed with breast cancer face the prospect of mastectomy. While few women are happy to wear a prosthesis within a bra, for a lot of women, this does not provide a satisfactory body image. Such women would benefit from a breast reconstruction using either a breast implant, their own muscle (Latissimus dorsi / LD) or a combination of both. Other options, using skin and fat from the lower abdomen alone (Free TRAM / DIEP flap) may be the ideal option for some patients. The most appropriate technique for an individual will be advised after a careful assessment of the individual and their life style, including hobbies.
Breast reconstruction can be ‘immediate’ (done at the same time as the mastectomy) or ‘Delayed’ (many months after mastectomy and / or post operative chemo or radiotherapy). In the ‘immediate’ option, the patient may maintain her body image through out the process. For some women, dealing with breast cancer and its after effects are more important than going for a single stage reconstruction.
Most such reconstructions are available – the ‘free flaps’ / DIEP flap available only – in the NHS. However, some patients requiring LD flap or implant based reconstructions (with Private Medical Insurance or as ‘self-pay’ option) may opt to have this operation in private hospitals to suit their personal circumstances.
For more information on Breast Reconstructions and the options available
visit www.optionsforbreastreconstruction.com or download the British
Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) Guide to Breast Reconstruction.