During breast reconstruction surgery the surgeon rebuilds the completely or partially removed breast shape with your own tissue and/or an implant. The reconstruction process may consist of a series of breast augmentation interventions and include implant placement as well as restoration of the nipple and areola.
When is breast reconstruction warranted?
Breast reconstruction is most often required for complete or partial breast removal (mastectomy) due to breast cancer or an accident. The advantage of the procedure is that self-confidence increases after surgery and there is no need to wear a bra containing an external prosthesis. The reconstruction process can consist of a series of interventions, the essence of which is that the lost tissues, together with breast volume, are replaced. During reconstructive surgery the goal is to create a new breast shape and to achieve as much similarity as possible to the existing one. Breast reconstruction surgery can also be performed following breast removal due to cancer, in which case the intervention should be coordinated with oncology treatment. Breast reconstruction restores the symbol of femininity and creates physical and mental harmony. Renewed self-confidence is coupled with a more feminine radiance, which has a positive impact on all areas of our patients’ lives.
What happens at the first consultation?
During the consultation our plastic surgeon will assess your current condition and, based on his experience and references - as well as your needs - will suggest a solution that will give the best possible result and explain what kind of breast augmentation and surgeries he considers necessary for you. He will then show you the different implants and select the most suitable size and type for you, as well as show you the expected result after surgery. In our private hospital we currently use Mentor and Motiva brand implants, which are FDA- and CE-certified products from leading American manufacturers. Mentor implants have a lifetime warranty, while Motiva products are made with a patented nanotechnology SilkSurface® exterior for even greater safety. Implants, in terms of shape, can be round or teardrop, have a textured surface and provide the highest safety and best quality.
Preparing for surgery
As with all surgeries, before breast reconstruction you will need to undergo a full examination, which includes laboratory tests, ECG and x-rays if necessary, and ultrasound and mammography. In our private hospital, we perform all the necessary tests at the same time to save you time and make your preparations for surgery more convenient. You will then receive some lifestyle tips to help you prepare for breast reconstruction surgery and to speed up your recovery. These include quitting smoking - at least temporarily - as nicotine slows the healing processes, consuming adequate amounts of fluids, vitamins and trace elements (vitamin C, selenium, zinc) and avoiding the use of aspirin, ginkgo biloba and other natural remedies, because these affect blood clotting.
What happens during surgery?
Breast reconstruction surgery is always performed under anesthesia. The appropriate surgical technique will be selected by our plastic surgeon, taking into account your individual attributes and breast structure. Breast reconstruction surgeries can vary greatly, from simpler, routine interventions to a complex series of surgeries, hence each case requires an individual assessment and surgical plan. During breast reconstruction, the removed tissues can be replaced with your own tissue or a modern and safe silicone implant, or a combination of these solutions. In simpler cases the implant can be inserted through an incision a few centimeters below the breast or through a semicircular incision around the nipple. The breast implant can also be placed under the existing mammary gland or chest muscle. During breast reconstruction, previous surgical scars are removed and distorting injuries are corrected. Nipple and areola restoration is recommended 3 to 6 months after breast formation, when the tissues and implant have acquired their final shape and location and require no further intervention. The nipple is formed from new tissue in a symmetrical place. Our plastic surgeon uses special techniques, if necessary, to achieve the best result, such as the LD (latissimus dorsi) and TRAM flap procedures. In these two methods, replacement skin tissue is taken from the back for the LD procedure, or from the abdomen in the case of the TRAM flap procedure. For the right result our plastic surgeon can also use other special techniques and devices, such as tissue expanders or TiO2Mesh surgical mesh implants. Combined breast reconstruction with your own tissue and implants requires a highly experienced physician and each step, from design to scar location, will be discussed with you in detail by our plastic surgeon during the preoperative consultations. The duration of breast reconstruction surgery can vary from 1.5 to 4 hours.
After breast reconstruction surgery, in most cases you will need to spend two nights in our private hospital to rest in comfortable and pleasant surroundings and begin your recovery in a safe environment. The following morning our plastic surgeon examines the surgical area, which should not be exposed to water for a week. You must wear a special bra for 4 weeks after breast reconstruction surgery, which we provide for you. All strenuous physical activity should be avoided for two weeks after surgery, but after this you can gradually resume your daily routine and after the third week light exercise is allowed. The solarium, sunbathing and the sauna should be avoided for two months after surgery. Our plastic surgeon will call you back for a postoperative examination at specified intervals. The healing time of external scars is approximately 6 months, while internal scars heal completely within 2 years. The use of scar treatment creams is recommended to promote scar healing. Although we try to screen for all risk factors during preoperative breast reconstruction surgery examinations, unforeseen complications may occur. At the first consultation your plastic surgeon will inform you about these and how to avoid them.
After breast reconstruction, a thin scar line remains on the skin in some visible and not visible places. Surgical scars are permanent but gradually fade over time. The breast gains its final shape after six months to a year.