Breast reconstruction is surgery performed to help restore a naturally shaped breast at the same time as or after a mastectomy (breast removal). Breast reconstruction is a physically and emotionally rewarding procedure for a woman who has lost a breast due to cancer or another condition.
If you need to have a mastectomy there are choices as to whether or not you have surgery that rebuilds or reconstructs the breast. The reconstruction procedure is performed so that the breast resembles (as closely as possible) the breast that has been removed.
There are two main types of breast reconstruction procedures: implant reconstruction and flap reconstruction.
With implant reconstruction, a breast implant is placed under the skin and muscle to recreate the shape of the breast. In flap reconstruction, skin, fat, and muscle are taken from elsewhere on the body to make the new breast. The procedure that is best for you will depend on your age, general health, size and shape of the other breast, and available body tissue.
Every woman is different and this procedure can be done in numerous ways to best suit the woman, both emotionally and physically.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it right for me?
As a highly qualified Plastic Surgeon, Dr Vlad Milovic will discuss the options of breast reconstruction with you before or following your mastectomy. He will assist you in your decision regarding the type of reconstruction that is most suitable for you as this will depend on your body type, your age, and also the type of oncological surgery that you have undergone.
Will I need anaesthesia?
Breast reconstruction surgery is generally done as an inpatient procedure under general anaesthesia.
Modern anaesthesia is safe and effective, but it does have some risks. Ask Dr Milovic and your Anaesthetist for more information. You can be assured that Dr Milovic will engage the services of a qualified Anaesthetist who is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and NZ College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) to perform your sedation or general anaesthesia.
Dr Milovic and/or your anaesthetist will ask you about your general health, all the medications you are taking or have taken, and any allergies you may have. Please make sure you have an up-to-date list before the surgery.
Will I have scarring?
There will always be scarring after any surgical procedure, and there can be no guarantee for a perfect outcome. Your healing process will determine the outcome of scarring after surgery, but it is Dr Milovic’s objective to minimise the scarring as much as possible. After surgery, the scars are typically reddish in colour but these usually fade in time to a light pink. After one or two years, the scars should fade significantly.
If scarring is a concern for you after surgery, Dr Milovic will provide you with a scar treatment plan to expedite the healing of your scars. There are several treatment options including silicone gel and laser.
We have the Palomar® Artisan laser system, which is proven to give excellent results for scar reduction. Laser offers a non-invasive solution that uses fractional laser technology to deliver rapid, reliable scar removal with minimal healing time, minimal infection risk, and little to no pain.
Where will the surgery take place?
Depending upon your general health and the extent of the procedure, breast reconstruction surgery is typically performed with a 5-7 day hospital stay. Dr Milovic will only perform your breast reconstruction surgery in safe, accredited operating facilities.
What is the recovery period after Breast Reconstruction surgery?
You may be in pain for a few days after surgery; however, these symptoms are common and pain medication will help to reduce the discomfort. Discolouration and swelling of the breasts are to be expected for a few weeks after surgery. Dr Milovic recommends that you take at least two weeks off post-surgery and avoid physical activity that requires lifting or raising the arms. Gentle stretching can prove to be beneficial and exercise, such as walking, can commence within seven days. Most patients return to work after two weeks, unless their occupation involves strenuous movements – then a period of at least three to four weeks is recommended. You will be given post-surgery instructions to follow, and if you have any doubts please speak to Dr Milovic and/or his Practice Nurse.
What are the costs?
Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery, but it should not be the only consideration. You have the right to be informed about the costs you can expect before you have your surgery. This is called ‘informed financial consent’.
Costs associated with the procedure may include:
- Dr Milovic’s surgical fee
- Accredited hospital or surgical facility costs
- Anaesthesia fees
- Prescriptions for medication
- Post-surgery garments
- Medical tests
After your initial consultation with Dr Milovic, you will receive a written estimate of fees and an information pack to read before your second pre-surgery appointment. The second appointment is free of charge. Once you book your surgery, you will also see our staff who will take your pre-operative photos and measurements for your compression bra(s).
As Dr Milovic personalises each procedure for each patient, we are unable to provide you with a price estimate or “ball park” price range without first meeting Dr Milovic at an initial consultation and after he considers you to be a good surgical candidate.
Please note that your satisfaction involves more than just a fee. When choosing a surgeon for your cosmetic surgery, remember that factors such as the surgeon’s training, qualifications, experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.