Deformation may occur after mastectomy surgery applied to the breasts. These deformations can be corrected by reshaping the breasts, that is, by rebuilding the breast. Reconstruction of the breast can be achieved by using the prosthesis breast or the person’s own tissues. breast reconstruction; In other words, the reconstruction of the breast provides a lot of psychological support to women.
What is Breast Reconstruction ?
Breast cancer is seen in one of every 9 women and is still one of the most common cancers among women. Unfortunately, some causes such as breast cancer may result in breast removal in women. Depending on the stage of breast cancer, sometimes a part of the breast or sometimes all of it can be removed.
In women with large breast types, breast reconstruction may not be necessary if the entire breast does not need to be removed. In this case, oncoplastic surgery is applied. In other words, the cancerous tissue is removed and the breast is reshaped at the same time. You can accept this as a kind of breast reduction surgery. However, in cases where there is not enough breast tissue or when it is necessary to remove the entire breast (total mastectomy), breast reconstruction may be possible.
Reconstruction of the breast can occur during breast cancer surgery or after a certain period of time, and the person can have a new breast. Today, it is a generally accepted practice to perform this procedure at the same time as mastectomy. This surgery applied to the breasts; In other words, breast reconstruction is an operation performed by experienced aesthetic and plastic surgeons.
Why is Breast Reconstruction Necessary?
The breast is one of the most important organs of the body in terms of body image in women. Loss of breast tissue due to a compulsory surgery applied to the breasts for any reason is a situation that makes women very unhappy. Loss of breast tissue may cause some psychological and physical problems in women in the future. E.g; With the removal of the breast, a physical imbalance may occur in the body. In order to prevent this physical imbalance, the breast can be reconstructed.
As a result of the removal of the breast, the physical appearance is different from the old one; In other words, women may feel incomplete because they no longer have breast tissue. Since the breast tissue is no longer present, problems such as not fitting the clothes she wears may occur as a result of the empty breast part. Since the person is no longer breastless as a result of the removal of the breast, he may also be bored with using removable prostheses that are added to the bra. For all these reasons, breast reconstruction can be achieved and natural breasts can be gained to the person.
How is Breast Reconstruction Provided Instead of Removed Breast?
Different techniques are applied in the process of reshaping the breasts. The breast types of women are the most important factor that determines which technique will be used for breast reconstruction. prosthetic breast; There are different types of breast reconstruction, namely the use of breast implants or the use of one’s own tissues, or both. The breast reconstruction process performed under general anesthesia takes 3-5 hours depending on the technique used.
Breast implants are silicone prostheses with a rough surface filled with a special gel. If the breast is removed with the skin, the balloon method, known as tissue expander, may be required because there is not enough space to place the breast implant. After the skin is sufficiently expanded, the tissue expander (expander) is removed in the second session and a permanent breast implant is placed.
In the breast reconstruction method in which autologous tissues taken from the body are used; According to the condition of the person, tissue is taken from areas such as abdomen, hips, back, inner legs and breast reconstruction is provided. This method is also called autogenous reconstruction (breast reconstruction with oocyte).
Although the postoperative recovery period is longer than the prosthetic breast type, it does not require a future surgery to the breasts when applied with the right technique. Since tissues will be taken from different parts of the body and new breast tissue will be created in this way, some scars may remain in these body areas.
How is the Technique Decided in Breast Reconstruction?
Many factors affect which technique is chosen in the breast reconstruction process. First of all, the general condition of the patient is examined. His general health must be suitable for this surgery. Whether the patient is suitable for breast reconstruction or not is decided jointly by the doctor who performed the breast surgery, oncologist and plastic surgeon.
The breast structure of the patient is important. The size of the breast, breast structure, amount of breast tissue loss are evaluated. If body tissues are to be used for breast reconstruction, the suitability of these areas is examined. Because there may not be enough tissue for breast production in areas such as hips and abdomen of very thin people.
The remaining breast structure after mastectomy is examined. The size and sagging ratio of the remaining breast after the removal of the breast is evaluated. And finally, of course, the patient’s preference for this surgery is an important factor in determining the technique in the breast reconstruction process. If one breast is reconstructed in this process, different breast aesthetics such as breast lift or breast augmentation can be performed on the other healthy breast, depending on the situation.
What is the Best Time for Breast Reconstruction?
The timing decision for breast reconstruction is determined by the patient’s condition. This operation is at the same time as breast cancer surgery; that is, it can be done simultaneously or after a period of time after mastectomy. After mastectomy, the person can receive additional treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. For this reason, it can be expected that these additional treatments will be finished. Breast reconstruction at the same time as breast cancer surgery is usually performed in cases of early breast cancer, but it can also be done for people with advanced breast cancer.
Shaping the breasts with breast prosthesis or the use of own tissues does not prevent chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments that may be received later. With simultaneous implementation, it also prevents the patient from experiencing a breast-free period.
Before and After Breast Reconstruction
After the diagnosis of breast cancer is made, breast reconstruction surgery, which will be performed simultaneously or later, comes to the fore together with mastectomy surgery. General health checks and examinations are performed before the surgery for breast reconstruction. The best treatment option is determined by considering the age, breast tissue structure and the patient’s wishes. Before the reconstruction of the breast, all drugs used by the patient are regulated. Before the surgery, some blood thinners should not be used.
Depending on the patient’s condition and the method used after breast reconstruction surgery, 3-5 days of hospitalization may be required. It is very normal to have pain after breast reconstruction. These pains can be controlled with painkillers. A drain is placed on the patient to prevent fluid and blood accumulation after breast reconstruction. The sutures due to the surgery are removed 7-10 days later. During this period, dressings should also be made.
After the breast is reconstructed, it takes 4-6 weeks for the person to return to his old life. This period may be shorter after the application of the prosthesis breast. Intense movements should be avoided after surgery. Sports should not be done until the doctor’s approval. Generally, activities such as heavy lifting, sports and driving should not be performed after breast reconstruction for 1-2 months. We can do daily routines such as eating and brushing teeth.
If the breast is reconstructed by removing tissue from the abdomen, an abdominal corset should be worn. Although the scars after the surgery are more intense in the first days, they become vague over time. Smoking should be avoided both before and after surgery. Smoking affects the healing process and increases the possibility of scarring.