Breast Reconstruction Surgery in London & UK

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For anyone considering this surgery it can be a really hard decision to face, however help is at hand and if you feel you are interested in looking into having breast reconstruction surgery then researching into the area will provide you with the information needed.

Why should I have it?

For anybody who has been through cancer and as part of their treatment has had to undergo a mastectomy it can be a struggle when dealing with the fact that as a woman you are missing one breast. For other individuals who have perhaps experienced injuries which have required their breast to be removed it will also be an experience which is hard to deal with and may leave you affected mentally as well as physically. Many women feel extremely self conscious about this, and find that their self esteem is knocked to a large extent. Considering this type of surgery can offer a solution to this problem, surgeons and medical teams are trained to create a natural looking breast which matches your other existing breast as close as possible. It is of course entirely up to you as to whether you feel comfortable in this decision. Many women will just use a fake breast to ensure that when wearing clothes they aren’t stared at in an odd way, but others want a more permanent solution. This is where breast reconstruction surgery could be the answer.

How long will I have to wait?

In some cases your breast reconstruction surgery may be performed immediately after your mastectomy; however you should be aware that this is not always the case. In some instances there may be complications which will need to be sorted prior to the breast reconstruction surgery going ahead. It is advised that if following your mastectomy you still need radiotherapy then your breast reconstruction surgery will also be put on hold until this is completed. If you have to wait for your surgery, often referred to as delayed reconstruction, then you may be placed on an NHS waiting list, meaning that you may have to wait a substantial amount of time – this will depend on the region you live in as well as the hospital you have been referred to. If you are not too keen on having to wait, but you know that you are fit and safe for surgery then you would be able to seek private surgery or surgery abroad.

What are the surgical methods?

There are two main procedures associated with this type of surgery. One method is to fit implants into the chest to create the new breast, this is called prosthetic reconstruction. This procedure requires a shorter stay in hospital; however you will need to visit on a regular basis following surgery, as the implants are usually slowly adjusted in size so that your skin is able to stretch successfully around the implant in turn creating a natural looking breast. The second method which may be used is longer than the prosthetic surgery and is called an autogenous procedure. This is where your surgeon will remove tissue from elsewhere on your body, usually your buttocks, navel, or thighs, the tissue will then be placed into your chest, either by reattaching the tissue to blood vessels within the chest (free flap surgery) or by moving the tissue whilst still being attached to the original blood vessels (attached flap surgery).

What are the complications and risks of breast reconstruction surgery?

With any surgery there will be some form of complications or risk associated, however breast reconstruction surgery is relatively safe. The main reason people will suffer from complications or risks are due to the fact that the surgery is completed under a general anaesthetic, this can cause reactions as well as nausea and dizziness. Your surgeon and medical team will however reduce these risks by looking at your medical history as well as your fitness for surgery. There are specific risks however associated with both types of surgery, with the implants there is a risk of the implants leaking which will lead to further surgery, and with the method where your own tissue is used to reconstruct a breast there is sometimes a risk that your blood supply to the breast will be affected, again this would be solved with additional surgery. You should be aware of any complications associated with your type of surgery and you should familiarise yourself with what you may experience to both prepare yourself as well as to ensure that if anything does occur you can deal with the problem immediately.

What should I do now?

If you are due to have a mastectomy you may have the option available to you for immediate reconstruction surgery, you should discuss your options with your doctor and surgeon, as well as seeking support from your family and friends. If you do not qualify to have immediate reconstruction, or you are interested in waiting and going for delayed reconstruction surgery you should visit your GP who will refer you on to a surgeon and a professional medical team who will be able to support you in your decision, you can also be referred onto private surgery if you wish to go private, or even abroad. You should then ensure that you choose the right surgeon and team for you, this will mean asking as many questions as you wish during a consultation, you should research into what to ask as well as considering your expected outcomes, this is to ensure you are fully comfortable and ready for surgery.

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Guide to Breast Reconstruction Surgery