Losing a breast to cancer is a traumatic experience and can be a drastic blow to one’s self-esteem. To restore one’s confidence and former appearance, breast reconstruction can be achieved through several different techniques. The aim of breast reconstruction is to restore the breast to a similar shape and appearance to what has been lost.
Some patients opt to have the breast reconstructed immediately at the time of mastectomy while other patients seek breast reconstruction a year or more after mastectomy. These patients often talk about how their self-esteem suffers as a result of losing a breast. For them, reconstructing the breast helps them to feel complete again, and is an integral part of their recovery process from breast cancer.
The procedure is performed using the body’s own tissue and/or an implant if it is suitable. Factors that are taken into consideration include the original breast size and shape, the availability of the patient’s own tissues, the patient’s general health, and requirements for radiotherapy.
Although we aim to reconstruct a breast that is near-normal, there are certain limitations such as:
If the patient’s own tissue is used, there will be some scars in the donor areas. Sometimes, secondary or touch-up procedures need to be performed to optimise the breast shape and size.
In breast reconstruction, we aim to achieve symmetry, which sometimes means that corrective procedures may need to be done on the opposite breast to achieve symmetry.
The main options include:
The recovery time will depend on the type and severity of reconstruction. With only an implant, you can find yourself returning to work about 7-10 days later.
With an LD flap, you will find you are more mobile but you will also have stiffness in your shoulders. We have a list of recommended exercise that will ease the discomfort and you should be back to work in about 2 weeks.
With a TRAM flap, it may be difficult to get out of bed in the beginning, but this gets easier over 1-2 weeks and you should be back to work in 3 weeks.
With Dr Sng’s passion and commitment, we strive to provide patients with a highly personalized, transparent, effective and comfortable experience from the first time you step in our clinic to full recovery.