Why is it done?
In Spain, about 24,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year, with a survival of more than 80%, so it is a fundamental part of the treatment to give a natural look to the breast of the woman who is affected by the illness.
Normally, breast reconstruction is carried out if an extirpation of the breast has been necessary as a consequence of cancer. The reconstruction is not incompatible with a subsequent oncological treatment and also avoids that the patient has to face the amputation of her breast. That is why, we try to carry out the immediate reconstruction to prepare the patient psychologically, and this way she can face much better the treatments that can bring this type of pathology.
Although reconstruction can not perfect what is a lost breast, in general, the results we obtain are quite satisfactory.
How is breast reconstruction carried out?
There are two options: the first would be what is called immediate reconstruction, that is, at the moment when breast cancer is diagnosed and the mastectomy has to be performed, reconstruction is carried out in the same surgical act. This first type, we can perform with different techniques, one of them is the placement of an expander -a kind of empty balloon-, which we will fill in later with physiological saline until a volume similar to the contralateral breast. In some cases, the expander can be replaced by a teardrop-shaped prosthesis, to give it a final shape. Another technique is to use tissues that are taken from another part of the body, such as the back or abdomen.
In the Unit that we have located in the Hospital Nuestra Señora del Rosario, normally, we try to carry out this type of immediate reconstruction, collaborating surgeons and gynecologists, for the integral treatment in a single intervention.
If, at first, the immediate reconstruction could not be carried out for some reason, after a few months it could be carried out, being called deferred reconstruction.. This second option can also be carried out by any of the techniques discussed above.
Are the risks of the intervention very high?
In principle, the risks are not very high, without forgetting that they are technically complex interventions. The possible complications that may arise, logically would require a reoperation.
After the intervention, in how long could the patient return home?
Once the mastectomy and reconstruction have been carried out, in general, the patient is admitted for approximately 72 hours in the hospital.
For the completion of the complete treatment, including the reconstruction of the nipple areola complex, usually requires a period between 3 and 6 months.