Breast Reconstruction: Be Informed & Plan Ahead
20 Apr 2018
Many women who have undergone mastectomy or lumpectomy face the stigma that is associated with having removed their socially perceived and accepted â€śwomanlinessâ€ť. For these women, it is not the end of the road. Breast reconstruction surgery is an option that is available to themâ€”it is just that they do not know of it yet. Just look at Angelina Jolie who underwent double mastectomy and then had breast reconstruction surgery done.
At Aster CMI, we would like to put an end to the lack of knowledge of breast plastic surgery that is rampant in India. We have designed our Breast Reconstruction Awareness Campaign to fill the void and promote awareness, and educate women about the options available to those who are considering post-mastectomy reconstruction breast reconstruction.
There have been worldwide research studies being done on breast reconstruction. An article published in the American Society of Plastic Surgery forum mentions that less than a quarter of women know the wide range of breast reshaping surgery options available to them. Most are not even familiar with the quality of outcomes that can be expected with breast reconstruction. They donâ€™t know yet as no one told them
In the US, less than 19% of women understand that the timing of their breast cancer treatment and the timing of their decision to undergo reconstruction greatly impacts their options and results. In India, these numbers are even fewer because a very small number of women are even offered the idea of breast reconstruction by the oncologist, whom the patient visits for removal of the cancerous parts.
The awareness for breast implant surgery was first raised by Dr Mitchell Brown, a plastic surgeon in Toronto, way back in 2011. It was he who first felt that the concept of Breast Reconstruction surgery was not well described to the patients, and thus there was a lack of understanding of what is available to the patients having mastectomy.
Through Dr Brownâ€™s efforts, Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day began to be observed by reconstruction specialists all over the world.
Reconstruction depends on individual needs
Breast reconstructive surgery is highly dependent on individual body needs. Any woman who has to consult an onco-surgeon for a mastectomy reconstruction or lumpectomy surgery , after the cancer is detected, should meet the plastic surgeon next door to know about the options best suited to the patient.
Studies have revealed that there is a psychological benefit to get breast plastic surgery done at the time of mastectomy reconstruction. Actress Angelina Jolie got her breasts removed after her gene testing that put her in group with 50% chance of developing breast cancer. She got her breast tissue removed, and immediately got implants put in at the same stage.
Reconstruction options are not just for those who would have breast removal in the near future or have just gotten it done recently. Even years after having breasts removed, women can opt for new breasts. There are three kinds of breast reconstruction options available to women who have undergone, or are planning to undergo, breast removal.
Implant-Based Reconstruction Options
This type of breast reconstruction involves restoration of the breast using an artificial breast implant. These are specially shaped bags that can contain either saline (salt water) or silicone gel.
Combination of Implant and Autologous Tissue Reconstruction
With this combination option, tissue is taken from the personâ€™s back and then along with an implant is used to reconstruct the breast.
Autologous Tissue Breast Reconstruction
In this sort of breast reconstruction surgery, the tissue may come from a personâ€™s abdomen, buttock or thighs and consists of only fat and skinâ€”without the need to sacrifice important muscles.
All these procedures can be done immediately after mastectomy, or even after completing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Typically, across the world, most reconstructions are done immediately at the time of the mastectomy, as the cancer is detected earlier. But those who have lived without breasts need not worry. There are now many breast implant surgery options available for every individual need.
It is all about working together
Breast Reconstruction is TEAM WORKâ€”broadly it requires involvement of breast reconstruction doctors like Onco-surgeon, Plastic Surgeon and a Psychologist. Here, at ASTER CMI Multi-Speciality Hospital, we have state-of-the-art facilities that provide these cutting-edge procedures to all those who are in need of it.
Our goal is to help cancer survivors who have undergone mastectomies to complete their healing process by restoring their sense of wholenessâ€”by making them feel complete emotionally, psychologically and physically.
Dr Karishma Kagodu
Consultant- Plastic, Reconstructive & Cosmetic Surgery