Breast Reconstruction

Dr Chaithan Reddy performs breast reconstruction surgery at his North Shore, Norwest and Westmead clinics for women who have lost part or all of their breast tissue, whether due to a mastectomy, congenital defect or another cause.

Using the patient’s own tissues, breast implants, or a combination of the two, Dr Reddy can recreate the missing breast/s to resemble your natural breast shape and size. His gentle demeanour, finely honed surgical skills, and natural eye for aesthetic details have earned him a reputation as one of the finest breast reconstruction surgeons in the nation.

Am I a good candidate for breast reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction can be arranged via our North Shore and Norwest plastic surgery offices to be performed in women who have had a mastectomy for breast cancer. Breast reconstruction can entail reconstructing either an entirely new breast or breasts, or it can entail reconstructing only part of a breast that has been lost due to other causes, such as trauma or infection.

What does the breast reconstruction procedure entail?

The new breast can be reconstructed using either your own tissues (typically from the abdomen), or an implant, or a combination of the two.

Implant-based reconstruction

An implant-based reconstruction generally involves more than one procedure. Generally, a tissue expander is first placed to stretch the remaining skin, before a final silicone implant is placed at a second stage. The operation is simpler and has a faster recovery than if you were to undergo an ‘own tissue’ based reconstruction.

Tissue based reconstruction

An autologous (own tissue) breast reconstruction involves more extensive surgery, but the results of which are generally life long, with the new breast also taking on a more natural feel and appearance. The ‘own tissue’ reconstructions involve performing what is known as a ‘flap’. Breast reconstruction flaps generally require transferring tissue from the abdomen (which is reshaped into a breast) to the chest.

The most common ‘own tissue’ breast reconstruction techniques include the following:

  • TRAM: Transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous flaps
  • MSTRAM: Muscle sparing transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous flaps
  • DIEP: Deep inferior epigastric perforator flaps

These 3 different abdominal flaps differ based upon how much abdominal muscle is included in the flap. The decision to choose one option over another depends upon a number of factors, including the size of your other breast, the amount of tissue available to reconstruct a new breast, your lifestyle, and your preference. There are advantages and disadvantages to each form of reconstruction and these will be discussed in detail during your initial consultation.

The breast reconstruction can be performed immediately after your mastectomy or may be performed at any time afterwards. The appearance of your reconstructed breast can very closely resemble your previous, natural breast/s. The results of a breast reconstruction using your own tissues are generally considered to be life-long. While you will continue to have breast cancer surveillance in the future, it is important to know that breast reconstruction does not increase your risk of breast cancer recurrence.

The duration of your hospital stay will depend upon the type of breast reconstruction undertaken.  If you are having an implant-based reconstruction, then it may be feasible to have your surgery as a day procedure. As for autologous (‘own tissue’) reconstructions, patients will generally stay in hospital for a period of 5-7 days.

A specific post-operative instruction plan together with 24 hour contact details will be provided at the time of your discharge from hospital to ensure that you are completely at ease during your recovery period at home.

Dr Reddy will see you regularly while you are recovering from breast reconstruction surgery. Following discharge from hospital, you will have a post-operative review 5-7 days later. If you have undergone an expander-based (implant) reconstruction, then you will continue with your expansions on a fortnightly basis until the desired breast size is reached. All dressings will be removed or changed at your visits. Simple taping of the incision line is advised and you will be clearly instructed on how to do this. Advice on scar management will also be provided.

Discomfort can range from minimal to moderate depending upon the individual and extent of surgery. Bruising is quite common. This is mostly apparent during the first week after surgery, although it may persist for 2 weeks. Your downtime from work will largely depend upon the type of breast reconstruction performed. Your recovery following an implant-based reconstruction is often quicker. Generally allow for a 2 week recovery period before returning to work. It is also advised that you do not drive for the first 2 weeks post-surgery. If you have undergone an autologous (‘own tissue’) breast reconstruction, allow for a 4-6 week recovery period prior to returning to work. It is important to also avoid any strenuous activities for approximately 4 weeks after surgery in order to minimise potential bleeding, bruising and swelling.

For breast reconstructive surgery, patients may be entitled to a health fund rebate. All claims for this surgery are reviewed by your health fund and determined on an individual basis. We advise you to contact your health fund or insurance provider to learn more about your cover or excess fees.

Please note: the choice to undergo breast reconstruction in the public or private system may affect the financial cost and timing of your surgery.

Breast Reconstruction Surgery | Sydney

Our staff would be pleased to answer any questions you might have about breast reconstruction surgery or assist you in any other way that we can.

For more information on breast reconstruction surgery or to request a consultation with Dr Reddy at our North Shore, Norwest and Westmead locations, please contact us.