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Why Consider Breast Reconstruction?

A breast reconstruction procedure at NorthEast Plastic Surgery’s Melbourne practice can restore breast proportions to patients who have had or are contemplating mastectomy or lumpectomy surgery for breast cancer. Breast reconstruction can surgically restore:
  • Breast size, width, projection and symmetry in proportion to the patient’s body shape
  • Nipple areolar complex to achieve symmetry with the contralateral breast

Breast Reconstruction Consultation

The decision to undergo breast reconstruction surgery should not be taken lightly. Patients need to carefully consider the significant adjustment to change in appearance as well as the realities of post-operative recovery.

Aims

The purpose of meeting with the surgeon for a consultation at our Melbourne practice is to:

  • ensure you have realistic expectations as to the results of a breast reconstruction
  • identify any limitations that may prevent you from realising those expectations

Limitations may include; skin quality, breast anatomy, scarring from previous surgery and the impact of adjuvant treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

During the consultation your surgeon will discuss with you the best course of action to achieve the level of symmetry desired.

NorthEast Plastic surgery is sensitive to the fact that many patients who are considering breast reconstructive surgery may have already been through many procedures which is challenging.

The goal of the surgeon is to restore breast symmetry which can positively affect confidence. Many patients feel uncomfortable in swimwear due to disproportionate breast size, nipple areolar complex position or asymmetry. Patients may also feel self-conscious of the appearance of their breasts and may have low self-esteem or low confidence as a consequence.

Two or more consultations are often required prior to surgery to ensure a good understanding of the procedure, the likely results and the period of recovery and downtime required.

Medical History

The surgeon must be made aware of all your material medical history prior to surgery. Important details may include but not limited to;

  • 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
  • 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.

Pre-operative Management

Further medical consultation may be necessary to minimise complications during or after surgery, including:

  • blood thinning agents may need to be either ceased or modified in preparation for surgery
  • Diagnostic tests including blood tests may need to be taken
  • Specialised CT scans
  • 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 for two weeks prior to and after surgery:

  • Aspirin
  • Disprin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as Nurofen
  • Garlic
  • Ginseng
  • Ginko
  • Arnica
  • Fish and Krill oils

Smokers must stop smoking six weeks prior to and after surgery to minimise the risk of surgical wound complications and anaesthesia. Products containing nicotine must also be avoided for two weeks before and after surgery, as they can cause complications during wound healing.

Risks

May include:

  • Problem scarring
  • seroma (collection of tissue fluid)
  • wound breakdown
  • wound complications
  • haematoma (collection of blood)
  • infection
  • Further surgery to address such complications.

Risks specific to breast reconstruction surgery may include:

  • swelling
  • redness
  • numbness of the breast skin
  • asymmetry
  • contour irregularities
  • 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.

Informed Consent

You’ll be given the opportunity to provide informed consent after the consultation process, once your questions and concerns have been addressed by your surgeon.

The consultation will also include a discussion regarding the cost of the procedure and any potential revisions.

Cost

NorthEast Plastic Surgery does not advertise a set price for medical procedures on our website (in accordance with the Guidelines for advertising of regulated health services by the Australian Medical Board)

We are happy to provide approximate costs before your initial consultation including any applicable Medicare rebate by phone 03 9088 5000 or via enquiry through our website.

Breast Reconstruction Surgery

The breast reconstruction surgery addresses different elements of the breast for each patient. The procedure can include:
  • restoration of the volume of the breast mound to an appropriate volume using a breast implant, local muscles and soft tissues or by microsurgical techniques
  • width and projection restoration
  • reconstruction of the nipple areolar complex
  • augmentation or lift of the other breast to achieve symmetry
Resulting scars can vary and may include the breast, back or abdomen depending on the technique used. The operation is performed under general anaesthetic administered by a specialist Anaesthetist in an accredited hospital. You’ll be treated in in hospital with antibiotic therapy and pain management for one to two nights following implant breast reconstruction, 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 you will then be provided with a brassiere which is worn until six weeks after surgery.

Recovery Period

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 are able to return to work within two weeks of surgery after implant reconstruction and four weeks after microsurgical reconstruction.

Before & After Photos

As the privacy of our patients is of the utmost importance to us, we do not provide before and after photos on our website. You will be shown a number of before and after images during your private consultation to illustrate the potential outcomes of surgery. These images have been provided by previous clients who have consented to their private use.

contact us

All patient appointments are coordinated via our Essendon practice

E: melbourne@northeastplasticsurgery.com.au
T: (03) 9088 5000
F (03) 9088 5001
P 0411865055
(paging service for after hours emergencies only)







Essendon practice
53 Fletcher Street
Essendon
Vic 3040

Onsite parking and tram service (59) to the premises

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St Vincents Private Hospital Consulting Suites
5 Studley Avenue,
Kew
Vic 3101

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