Breast Reconstruction Following Cancer Surgery
The treatment you have undergone for your breast cancer dictates largely what reconstructive options you have available.
Mastectomy is the term that refers to the surgical removal of breast tissue. In order of complexity, breast cancer treatment can involve:
- Lumpectomy- removal of breast cancer alone
- Partial Mastectomy- removal of the breast cancer with some surrounding normal breast tissue
- Nipple and Skin sparing Mastectomy- removal of all breast tissue leaving the nipple and skin
- Skin sparing Mastectomy- removal of all breast tissue including the nipple but leaving the skin
- Simple Mastectomy- removal of all breast tissue including skin and nipple but no chest muscle or lymph nodes from the armpit (axillary nodes)
- Modified Radical Mastectomy- removal of all breast tissue including skin, nipple and axillary lymph nodes, but no chest muscle
- Radical Mastectomy- removal of all breast tissue including skin, nipple, axillary lymph nodes and chest muscle
- Non-surgical treatments include radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
Reconstruction of the breast is aimed at replacing what is missing.
It can be broadly categorized into using your own tissue (autologous) or using a breast implant.
It can also be performed at the time of the cancer removal surgery (immediate) or afterwards (delayed).