Breast Reconstruction Surgery Sydney NSW – Reconstruction after Breast Cancer or Mastectomy
Breast reconstruction surgery is a highly advanced plastic surgery procedure that is responsible for helping women get breasts after undergoing a mastectomy surgery.
Breast reconstruction surgery can restore the contour, shape and size of your breasts following mastectomy. It can be done at the same time as the cancer removal surgery or as a separate procedure, some time afterward.
Dr Michael Kernohan FRACS is a highly experienced plastic surgeon, and performs Breast Reconstruction Surgery in Sydney Southwest Suburbs and the Southern Highlands NSW.
CLICK to Download Dr Michael Kernohan Cosmetic Breast Surgery Guide
What is Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
Breast reconstruction surgery involves re-forming the breast to its previous symmetry in terms of shape and volume. The procedure can be performed in multiple stages depending on the techniques used during breast reconstruction. Some of the most common techniques include breast implants/expanders or the use of the patient’s tissue.
Why Consider Breast Reconstruction?
Here are a few reasons to consider breast reconstruction:
1. Improved Balance and Proportion
A breast reconstruction surgery will bring the balance and proportion back to your body.
2. Customised Tailored Approach
Breast construction surgery is customised as per your unique needs. Your surgeon will tailor these procedures and use different techniques as per the desired outcome. It essentially enables you to get the results you want on your terms.
3. Natural and Permanent Results
Whether Dr Kernohan decides to use a synthetic breast implant or your own body tissue, the results can be natural-looking and long-lasting. This can reduce the need for additional surgeries later on.
Breast Reconstruction Photo Gallery
Taking a look at previous patients who have undergone breast reconstruction speaks volumes about the expertise of a specific surgeon. You can see before and after photographs of Dr Kernohan’s past patients during your consultation.
Am I a Candidate for Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
You are the right candidate for breast reconstruction surgery if:
- You have a positive outlook and realistic expectations
- It is possible to cope with the diagnosis and treatment
- You don’t have any medical conditions that can hinder your recovery
- It is possible to avoid smoking or can quit for a specified duration
- You are not under chemotherapy or any other radiation treatments
Please note that these are general guidelines and the eligibility for the procedure can be determined by booking a consultation with an expert plastic surgeon.
Your Breast Reconstruction Consultation with Dr Kernohan
Ensure your consultation is with an accredited plastic surgeon who is registered with AHPRA as a specialist in plastic surgery. Dr Kernohan will ask you about your general health and examine you.
If, after careful assessment, you are suitable for breast reconstruction surgery expect to discuss the procedure, principles of the operation, likely outcomes and potential risks of breast reconstruction.
You may have more than one consultation. It is very difficult to take on board all the information at just one consultation, and you must have time to think about the information you have heard and a chance to ask any questions.
Key points to discuss at the consultation include:
- Your expectations and the expected outcomes
- The benefits to you of the breast reconstruction
- Any concerns about risks, complications or limitations – please see below.
Breast Reconstruction Procedure and Techniques
Before coming in for a procedure, Dr Kernohan will discuss your individual needs, requirements, medical condition as well as any previous surgeries (if you had any). The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia and can take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours based on the technique used.
Multiple techniques are used for breast construction. Some of the most common ones are Implants, Tissue Flap and DIEP FLAP.
1. Breast Implants or Breast Tissue Expander
Using a breast implant for breast reconstruction usually involves stretching the existing skin with the help of a tissue expander. The tissue expander will go inside your body and create space to insert an implant. Most patients are satisfied with the results of this technique.
2. Tissue Flap – TRAM Flap Surgery
The tissue flap technique involves the use of tissue from the back, abdomen, thighs, and bottom. The tissues will be used to reconstruct the breast. Taking out the abdominal tissue is known as the TRAM flap. Taking tissue from the back is called a Dorsi flap. Oftentimes, the extracted tissue is attached to the blood supply, known as tunnelling and pedicle procedure. In such a case, the flap has a better chance of survival.
During the free flap procedure, the tissues are first disconnected and attached to a blood supply near a new location.
3. DIEP Flap Surgery
Think of it as a newer version of the TRAM flap procedure. During DIEP Flap, the surgeon will surgically remove tissue from the lower belly. It will be shaped and attached to the chest to form a new breast. The surgeon will extract skin, fat, and blood vessels while leaving the underlying abdominal muscles intact. DIEP Flap has fewer long term complications as compared to TRAM Flap. That is why it is a preferred choice for many.
Recovery after Breast Reconstruction
Undergoing the trauma of breast cancer as well as an enduring mastectomy can be a debilitating experience. The fact that you underwent breast reconstruction is commendable and is a sign that recovery is nearing completion. Some patients might be asked to stay in a hospital for a few days so that their condition can be closely monitored.
You might slight pain and discomfort for several days post-surgery. Some patients will be able to walk around the house in about one to two days while others might prefer bed rest for several days (those who have undergone complex procedures). In some cases, an IV drip and drains are used to get rid of fluid build-up.
Delay the full level of activity till you are fully healed and avoid returning to work until your surgeon gives you a go. Avoid exercising and lifting heavy weights till you recover and are able to move comfortably.
Make sure to drink lots of water, and eat healthy to nourish your body from within. Take all your medication on time and go for your follow-up appointments regularly.
Results of Breast Reconstruction Surgery
It can take anywhere from 8 to 10 weeks for the swelling to subside. After that, you will be able to see how your breasts look. However, you need to be extremely patient as you might have to wait up to a year to see the final outcome of the surgery. The results of breast reconstruction surgery are permanent.
Risks and Complications of Breast Reconstruction Surgery
All types of surgery carry some risks – Dr Kernohan will explain your risks during the consultation as part of the informed consent process.
Visit the risks of surgery page for more information.
Breast Reconstruction Cost Sydney – How Much is a Breast Reconstruction Surgery in Sydney? Prices & Fees
The costs of Breast Reconstruction in Sydney depends on various factors such as:
- Surgeon’s reputation, level of expertise, qualifications
- What is included in the liposuction quote or price estimate?
- Where is breast reconstruction performed?
- The complexity of the case
- Which technique is used to perform the surgery?
The prices can vary based on the factors mentioned above.
Learn more about the plastic surgery breast reconstruction fees Sydney on Dr Kernohan’s pricing page.
Call or Contact Dr Kernohan’s team to get an estimated quote or set up an appointment for a consultation.
Will Medicare Cover My Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
Breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy is often a valid medical reason to undergo plastic surgery and is usually supported by medicare and health insurance depending on your level of cover.
- Find out more about Medicare item numbers for Breast Reconstruction here.
- For more details about a Breast Reconstruction payment plan and medical financing options
How to find the Best Breast Reconstruction Surgeon in Sydney
Breast reconstruction is a complicated procedure and requires the expertise of a trained and experienced plastic surgeon. You need to find someone who has years of experience in performing the surgery. Follow these steps:
Breast Reconstruction Surgery FAQs:
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about breast reconstruction surgery:
Is breast reconstruction a major surgery?
- Yes, Breast reconstruction surgery is a major surgical procedure. Expect to stay in the hospital for a couple of days post-surgery. In some cases, people might need multiple procedures to achieve the desired results.
How long does it take to recover from breast reconstruction surgery?
- You can usually return to normal activities around six to eight weeks after the surgery.
What is the safest breast reconstruction surgery?
- Breast implants are considered to be a safe option for breast reconstruction surgery. One downside to that is you might need to have them replaced at some later point in life.
Do I need to wear a bra after breast reconstruction?
- Immediately post breast reconstruction surgery, you will be asked to wear a surgical bra for at least 2 to 3 weeks post-surgery. Once you are healed, it is a matter of personal choice whether you wish to wear a bra or not.
How do you make nipples after mastectomy?
- After mastectomy, the plastic surgeon can create something similar to nipples. In some cases, cosmetic tattooing is used.
How long does the pain last after breast reconstruction?
- Expect some pain and discomfort to last for the first two weeks after breast reconstruction. Make sure to take the medication regularly to keep the pain at bay.
How long do you have to take time off from work for a breast reconstruction surgery?
- The recovery can vary from person to person. Generally speaking, most patients will need to take at least 2 weeks off from work.
Do reconstructed breasts have feelings?
- You will have less sensation in your newly constructed breasts as compared to the natural breasts. However, they will look and feel completely natural. Feeling usually improves over time as nerves regenerate.
What is the fastest way to recover from after breast reconstruction surgery?
- The only way to recover from a breast reconstruction surgery at a faster pace is by following the post-op instructions of the surgeon. Some of the most important tips include: taking your medication on time, caring properly for post-op drains, wearing a surgical bra, resting adequately, and eating well.
How long are you in hospital after a breast reconstruction surgery?
- Some patients might be required to stay in the hospital for one or more days.
What kind of bra do you wear after a breast reconstruction surgery?
- You should wear a surgical bra for at least three weeks after the surgery. For the first years after surgery, it is best to wear a bra with soft seams and a wide under band.
How many surgeries are required for breast reconstruction?
- Different patients have different needs. One procedure might be enough for some breast reconstruction patients while two interventions are required for others.