Breast cancer – Breast Reconstruction after Mastectomy
Breast cancer treatment is undoubtedly a particularly difficult process for a woman and requires physical and mental strength from the patient. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1.600.000 women in the world are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, 4.000 of whom are in our country.
Breast Cancer – Mastectomy
By the term mastectomy we mean the surgical removal of the mammary gland either partially or radically. Mastectomy is another name for breast removal surgery. There are several different types of mastectomies, which remove part or all of the breast tissue (mammary gland).
A few years ago, the radical mastectomy was an integral part of the treatment process, something that does not apply to all breast cancer patients in nowadays. Such type of amputative (mutilating) surgical operations for a woman are taking place less and less today, since the surgery to remove the tumor from the breast (lumpectomy or breast-conserving surgery) or the partial removal of the mammary gland in combination with adjuvant therapies (Radiotherapy-Chemotherapy-Hormone therapy) is enough to lead to an excellent outcome of the disease.
Nevertheless, certain types of breast cancer with aggressive behavior and multifocal location in combination with the patient’s history and a series of other factors that will be evaluated by the specialized breast Surgeon, indicate modified radical mastectomy as the appropriate and safest way to surgically treat the disease.
Breast Cancer – Physical and Psychological Effects
It is no exaggeration to mention that mastectomy is not only a physical but also a psychological “amputation” for a woman. The organ of mammary gland is intertwined with the womanhood, as it is a symbol of femininity, motherhood, fertility and eroticism. The dressing style changes that inevitably follow the mastectomy as well as the social interactions (socializing with other women and men, or a partner) are logical to cause a huge psychological burden to the patients. This often acts as a hindrance in the woman’s “battle” against breast cancer. Psychology in such a battle plays the same important role as the perfect Medical and Surgical treatment of the condition.
In the past, the reconstruction of the mammary gland or mammary glands after mastectomy was met with disbelief by some part of the scientific community. Today, however, something like this has an absolutely beneficial effect on the woman’s psychology and therefore on her “battle” with the disease.
Breast Cancer – The Reconstruction of the Mammary Glands
Every woman, who is going to undergo a mastectomy, has the right to be informed in detail about the breast reconstruction process after the surgery, either by her Surgeon or by the Plastic Surgeon of the Surgical team. In fact, in some American states, not informing the patient about the breast reconstruction is considered as medical negligence.
According to official statistics, in the United States of America only 45% of women who undergo mastectomy operations restore their breast. The 20% of them immediately after the mastectomy and the remaining 25% in a second phase, months or even years after the first surgical operation.
Depending on the case, the breast reconstruction can be performed either at the same surgical time of the mastectomy (immediate reconstruction/One-stage Technique) or in a second phase (delayed reconstruction) and after the patient’s treatments have been completed.
The already existing techniques are several and are divided into two main categories: a) Breast reconstruction in 2 stages: During the first stage, a tissue expander is used and a silicone implant is placed during the second stage. b) Use of techniques with skin and muscle flaps.
The application of the One-Stage Technique must meet specific criteria and is applied to selected patients after correct and highly detailed pre-operative planning by the breast Surgeon and the plastic surgeon of the surgical team. The goal is to achieve a perfect surgical procedure both on oncological and aesthetic level.
Factors such as breast size, skin quality, age, type of malignancy, smoking, previous radiation as well as the patient’s desire are factored into the final decision for choosing the surgical procedure. The most appropriate method for most women is the use of silicone implants. The surgical procedure is completed in one, two or even three stages for the final reconstruction of both the nipple and the areola, if the woman so desires.
The CEO and Chairman of the Surgical Clinic, “SurgiShape” and certified Breast Surgeon Dr. Themistoklis Galanakis as well as the Scientific Director of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery of the Clinic Dr. Kyriakos Efthymoglou are at your disposal to answer any questions you have on the sensitive topic of breast cancer and surgical reconstruction of mammary glands after mastectomy.
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