Breast Reconstruction

Breast Reconstruction

After undergoing surgery for breast cancer, or having voluntary preventative mastectomy/mastectomies, many women choose to have reconstruction to restore the size, shape and symmetry of their breasts.  Breast reconstruction can be performed to restore symmetry to your breasts after a lumpectomy, or to rebuild one or both of your breasts after a single or double mastectomy. If possible, it is helpful to see Dr Timms before your cancer surgery, as reconstruction can sometimes be performed at the same time. In other cases, such as when further surgery might interfere with radiotherapy or chemotherapy, reconstruction can be performed months or even years later.

Dr Timms will discuss the different types of surgery that are used to reconstruct the breast(s).  There are two basic methods of reconstruction:

  • Flap Reconstruction involves the use of your own tissues, such as skin/fat from your back or abdomen, to replace the tissue lost from the breast. This method is used with great success to faithfully recreate the breast’s natural appearance.
  • Implant Reconstruction involves the reconstruction of the breast by inserting a temporary implant called a tissue expander (TE). This implant is slowly expanded with sterile fluid, usually once per week, to encourage gradual stretching of the breast tissue and skin. In some cases, an air expander can also be used to expand the skin in preparation for an implant. When the breast has reached an appropriate size and volume (determined in consultation with Dr Timms), surgery is then planned to remove the TE and replace it with a permanent breast implant.

We often recommend a course of LLLT using our standalone Healite II LED be undertaken both before and after surgery to improve healing time. This can also assist with pain relief and reduce inflammation, bruising and scarring.

Nipple Reconstruction

A nipple reconstruction is often the final stage of breast reconstructive surgery, following staged surgeries.

This is usually an aesthetic choice, and not all women feel the need to have reconstruction of their nipple. But this procedure, combined with areola tattooing, is now commonly used and can significantly improve the appearance of the breast reconstruction.

Postoperative Care

IN HOSPITAL

You will wake after your surgery with dressings over your surgical site/s. Depending on the nature of the procedure you may also wake up with drainage tubes coming from your surgical site. These are removed with little discomfort when Dr Timms feels they are ready to be removed after your surgery. Nurses looking after you are trained to ensure that your recovery is smooth and that you are as comfortable as possible postoperatively. Our clinic nurse is always available to answer any questions or concerns you may have whether you are recovering at home or within the hospital setting.

Dr Timms undertakes regular ward rounds, so he will be monitoring you very closely postoperatively.

Your anaesthetist will have prescribed medication for you to keep you comfortable – you will have pain relief medication prescribed for you for discharge also.

POST OP APPOINTMENTS

An appointment will be made for you to be reviewed by Dr Timms nurse in the rooms 7-10 days after your surgery. This appointment is usually arranged for you at your consultation appointment with Dr Timms. Sometimes it is arranged by the nursing staff that discharge you from hospital. This depends on the nature of your procedure and the duration of your stay in hospital.

WHAT TO WEAR

A soft surgical grade compression garment is usually indicated for breast, body and some facial procedures. These garments are to be worn for 24/7 for six weeks and can be removed for showering. These are specialised garments and we will advise you where to purchase these garments, how to wear the garments and what type you require when you book your procedure with Dr Timms. Many garments are claimable via your private health insurance depending on your level of cover and whether your procedure is medical or cosmetic.

POST OPERATIVE ACTIVITY

You will need to be prepared to avoid driving for a period of anywhere between 1-3 weeks post surgery. The duration of this time depends on the nature of your surgery, medications you are taking for pain relief and your level of confidence behind the wheel post-surgery. It is advisable that you refrain from heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for 6 weeks.

Most activities can be recommenced after your 6 week review with Dr Timms.

the answer to those looking for re-surgery?

Revision Surgery

If you are unhappy with a procedure you’ve received from another surgeon we are happy to consult and let you know, the best way to correct those procedures using Dr Timm’s excellent surgical expertise.

“Nothing makes me happier than the confident smile, my patients give me, when they see their results”

Dr Ian Timms

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