The compassionate and supportive team of surgeons and nurses at NorthEast Plastic Surgery’s Brisbane practice are ideally suited to surgically restore the breasts of patients who have had or are contemplating mastectomy surgery for breast cancer or its prevention. Breast reconstruction surgery can also address developmental breast asymmetry and breast deformities arising from trauma such as burns.
Breast reconstruction surgery can:
All patients should actively research and carefully consider the potential benefits, risks and the repercussions of undergoing breast reconstruction. Significant adjustment to change in appearance needs be considered in addition to the process of post-operative recovery.
At the consultation, the surgeon will ask you about your expectations for the procedure. The surgeon will then identify any limitations that may prevent you from realising those expectations such as:
During the consultation, your surgeon will discuss what action be required to achieve optimal breast symmetry in your case.
NorthEast Plastic surgery acknowledges that many patients who are considering breast reconstructive surgery have experienced limitations in the clothing they can feel confident in. Many patients feel uncomfortable in swimwear due to disproportionate breast size, nipple areolar complex position or asymmetry. Patients may also feel self-conscious in the appearance of their breasts and may have low self-esteem or low self-confidence as a consequence.
Two or more consultations are often required prior to surgery to ensure a good understanding of procedure, the likely results and the period of recovery and downtime required.
The surgeon must be made aware of all your material medical history prior to surgery. Important details may include but not be limited to include previous surgery, history of scarring, tendency for easy bruising, excessive bleeding, deep venous clots involving the legs, all prescription and non-prescription medication, allergies to anaesthetic agents, antibiotics and dressings, history of smoking and psychological or psychiatric issues.
In addition, it is important that the surgeon is aware of adjuvant therapy including chemotherapy and radiotherapy. These issues are important as they have the potential to affect the surgery, anaesthesia, potential complications and recovery. A history of Raynaud’s disease or conditions affecting the peripheral circulation is also significant.
Further medical consultation may be necessary to minimise complications, especially regarding blood thinning agents which may need to be either ceased or modified in preparation for surgery. Diagnostic tests including blood tests may also be necessary for the Surgeon to obtain a complete assessment of your general health and suitability for the procedure. Depending on the type of reconstruction considered, specialised CT scans may be necessary in addition to breast ultrasound studies and mammography.
It may also be necessary to cease medication such as the Oral Contraceptive Pill.
It is important to avoid the following medications two weeks prior to and after surgery:
Smokers must stop smoking six weeks prior to and after surgery to reduce the risk of surgical wound complications and anaesthesia. Products containing nicotine can also affect wound healing and should be ceased two weeks prior to and after surgery.
Risks of any surgery may include: problem scarring, wound complications, infection, wound breakdown, haematoma (collection of blood), seroma (collection of tissue fluid) and further surgery to address such complications.
Risks specific to breast reconstruction surgery may include: swelling, redness, numbness of the breast skin, loss of sensation of the nipple areolar complexes or necrosis of the nipple areolar complex where preserved during the mastectomy. Long term risks include asymmetry, contour irregularities and dog ear formation (contour irregularities at either end of the scar).
Revisional surgery is necessary in approximately five percent of patients who undergo breast reconstruction surgery.
You will only be able to provide informed consent after the consultation process. During the consultation, you will have the opportunity to have any specific questions and concerns addressed by the surgeon. The consent process will also include a discussion regarding the costs of surgery.
We do not include a cost per procedure on our website. In Australia, surgeons are strongly discouraged from advertising a set price for a medical procedure. This is in line with the Guidelines for advertising of regulated health services by the Australian Medical Board.
NorthEast Plastic Surgery can provide approximate costs for out of pocket expenses before your initial consultation including any applicable Medicare rebate. We are happy to provide these by phone 07 3180 3400 or via enquiry through our website.
There is a cost for an initial consultation at our Brisbane clinic, with the potential to receive a portion of this back via Medicare where eligible for rebate, provided you have a referral from your GP.
The breast reconstruction surgery addresses different elements of the breast for each patient. The procedure can include:
Resulting scars can vary and may include the breast, back or abdomen depending on the technique used.
The operation is performed under general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital. You will be treated in hospital with antibiotic therapy and pain management for one to two nights following implant breast reconstruction, five to seven days following microsurgical breast reconstruction and as day surgery for nipple areolar complex reconstruction.
Internal wounds are repaired with dissolving stitches and water proof dressings applied which are suitable for patients to shower. A compressive garment or “boob tube” will be provided and is worn for approximately three weeks. You will then be provided with a brassiere which is worn until six weeks after surgery.
The post-operative recovery period is approximately two to three weeks in the case of implant reconstruction or six to eight weeks after microsurgical reconstruction.
During this period the breasts can be swollen or bruised. Swelling typically improves six to eight weeks after surgery. Most patients can return to work within two weeks of surgery after implant reconstruction and six weeks after microsurgical reconstruction.
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