Why and When should I have Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is an option and never an essential part of your treatment.
The number of patients needing surgery for breast cancer is rising every year. In Mr Ramakrishnan’s area of Essex a very high percentage of women are offered and undergo reconstruction at the same time as mastectomy (called primary or immediate reconstruction). Most of these women who choose immediate reconstruction opt to have what one surgeon removes, reconstructed by another. This is more often than not the circumstances under which Mr Ramakrishnan performs immediate reconstruction. A much smaller group of women will opt or will be advised to have reconstruction after mastectomy (called secondary or delayed reconstruction).
Experts say performing the mastectomy and reconstruction together minimises the psychological impact of losing a breast. Whilst immediate breast reconstruction has a longer anaesthetic and recovery time, it tends to achieve better cosmetic results, smaller breast scars and only one hospital stay.
For some women with aggressive disease or who need radiotherapy, reconstruction cannot be done immediately, but it may still be an option later on.
It must be said however that many women remain satisfied with an external prosthesis in the bra to achieve normal shape while dressed. Reconstruction always adds surgery and therefore potential complications to your treatment. This needs to be taken into consideration. You should never feel you must have breast reconstruction.
The motivation for women to have breast reconstruction is completely individual and is therefore unique to each. The attitude towards loss of a breast varies from patient to patient. Although a difficult time for all women, the importance attached to replacing a breast is totally down to the individual, neither response is right or wrong.