About Breast Reconstruction
Breast Reconstruction is performed on Breast Cancer patients post mastectomy or lumpectomy. This can restore self confidence, or give a woman a breast.
During your initial consultation with Dr Ritz, he will discuss your current condition, whether you have already had, or if you need a Mastectomy or Lumpectomy, and whether are having it at the same time. We do work with breast surgeons and where possible, can do a combined mastectomy and reconstruction at the same time. There are many options for breast reconstruction, from using an implant, to an autologous tissue donation, in the form of a TRAM flap which involves taking muscle, tissue and skin from the abdomen, a DIEP flap which involves taking the skin and tissue from the abdomen, or Lat Dorsi flap which takes skin muscle and tissue from the upper back. Blood vessles may also be taken from these areas. Fat grafting to the breast may also be done, where fat is taken from one area and re injected to give the breast shape. There are many factors to consider, and which option of reconstruction is best for you is discussed in detail at the time of your consultation.
You will have another 1 or 2 consultations prior to surgery, to discuss the surgery again and answer any further questions you may have.
On the day of surgery you admit approximately 2 hours before, some patients need to admit the day before depending on their requirements. Dr Ritz will see you again and draw markings on you for surgery, the anaesthetist will also speak to you. The surgery is performed with or without a breast surgeon also.
Some patients will be required to stay the first night in intensive care for monitoring, then you will return to the ward and can spend a week or so in hospital depending on which type of reconstruction you have had done. You will have drain tubes in which stay in as long as you need while still draining, once these are removed we will fit you with a special bra to wear for approximately 6 weeks day and night. Once you are discharged we initially monitor you twice a week then once a week as your recovery progresses.
Post Operative Care
You cannot drive for at least 2 weeks, and cannot do any physical exercise, heavy lifting, gym for a minimum of 6 weeks.