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Breast reconstruction after breast cancer

There are many techniques available to reconstruct all or part of a breast and Mr Cawrse’ NHS practice specialises in this area. The reconstruction can be performed at the same time as removal of breast tissue (immediate reconstruction) or at a later date (delayed reconstruction) particularly if other treatments are needed to address a breast cancer.

Reconstruction can utilise your own tissue (autologous) or an implant or tissue expander, or occasionally a combination of the two. Some small differences in breast size can be corrected with transfer of fat taken from another part of your body and put into the breast (lipofilling).

Tissues commonly used for breast reconstruction include the skin and fat below your tummy button (DIEP/ TRAM flap) or skin and a muscle from your back (latissimus dorsi flap).

Usually at least 2-3 operations are needed to reconstruct a breast as adjustments in size and shape after the first operation is expected, as is a further operation to reconstruct the nipple.

The length of surgery varies from 5-7 hours for a DIEP/ TRAM flap to 1-2 hours for an implant-based reconstruction or lipofilling.

Mr Cawrse can advise you as to your suitability for each type of reconstruction and make you aware of all the options. It may be that several types of reconstruction are available to you and so which works best for you will be the focus of the consultation.

All women should be offered all types of reconstruction though not every women will be suitable for every technique. The aim of breast reconstruction is to provide symmetry for shape, volume and feel to the reconstruction. It is not possible to replace a breast but there are many ways to successfully reconstruct a breast.

More information on breast reconstruction can be found at the BAPRAS website.

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