Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Reconstruction of the breast following mastectomy for breast cancer is, for many ladies, an integral part of the recovery process. Producing a new breast mound can contribute greatly to the psychological well being of the woman involved. However, the decision on whether, when and how to reconstruct is not an easy one and only careful counselling and discussion with the breast cancer surgeon and the reconstructive plastic surgeon can allow the patient to come to the correct decision for her.

Breast Reconstruction Surgery in London UK by Mr Stephen Hamilton


Frequently asked questions about breast reconstruction surgery

Why choose Mr Hamilton for breast reconstruction surgery?
When should breast reconstruction be done?

How do I choose a breast reconstruction surgeon ?

What are the options in breast reconstruction ?
What about breast reconstruction after lumpectomy (partial mastectomy)
Where can I get more information on breast reconstruction?
How do I arrange a consultation with Mr Hamilton in London, UK

Why choose Mr Hamilton for breast reconstruction?

Mr Stephen Hamilton has extensive experience in breast reconstruction surgery both in his current NHS consultant post, where he works closely with breast cancer surgery specialists and from his previous fellowships at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London and the prestigious Curie Institute in Paris, one of France’s largest cancer centres. He offers breast reconstuction surgery advice and treatment at the best private hospitals in London.

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When should breast reconstruction be done?

Following mastectomy, reconstruction may be performed at the same time (“immediate reconstruction”) or at a later date after all other treatment (for example chemotherapy or radiotherapy) has been completed (“delayed reconstruction”). Decisions on the timing of reconstruction are complex and should be discussed with the breast surgeon, the breast care nurse and the reconstructive plastic surgeon. As a general rule, those patients who are likely to receive postoperative radiotherapy as part of their breast cancer treatment are usually best to delay reconstruction, since the radiotherapy can adversely affect the eventual result if given to the reconstructed breast.

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Choosing a breast reconstruction surgeon

Every patient would like to choose the best breast reconstruction surgeon for her particualr case. The choice of a surgeon is, of course, a very personal decision and your breast cancer specialist and breast care nurse specialist can be useful sources of advice. In essence, the ideal reconstructive surgeon will have experience of and be able to offer the full range of reconstructive options. This allows the optimal choice of reconstruction to be made with the individual patient. The consultation process will allow you to get to know your surgeon and you will be able to explore the various options. It's also a useful chance to look at some pre and postoperative photos of the various options to enable you to make an informed choice.

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What types of breast reconstruction are available?

Mr Hamilton is able to offer a full range of reconstructive options, tailored, of course, to the circumstances of the individual patient. Reconstructions may involve the use of a breast implant either alone or with additional tissue brought in from the back to give a more natural appearance (a latissimus dorsi reconstruction). Alternatively, an implant may be avoided entirely using tissue from the back (an extended latissimus dorsi) or abdominal tissue as a “TRAM” or the more modern “DIEP” flap.

How is the breast reconstructive technique chosen?

Each technique has its relative merits and disadvantages and these can be discussed fully at consultation. The eventual choice of reconstructive technique depends on several factors, including the timing of the procedure, the need for radiotherapy, the tissue available in the individual patient and the patient’s own personal preference.

Is breast reconstruction a single operation?

The number of procedures very much depends on the individual. Breast reconstruction is often a staged process – the breast is reconstructed at the initial procedure, later a new nipple may be created from the patient’s own tissue and, in some cases, the breast on the other side may be adjusted or lifted to better match the reconstructed breast. Patient preference is paramount in planning staged procedures.

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Breast reconstuction / reshaping after lumpectomy (partial mastectomy)

Many women with early breast cancer are successfully treated for breast cancer using a more limited procedure involving simple removal of the breast lump rather than a full mastectomy. This may be followed by radiotherapy. Though successful from a cancer point of view, this treatment can sometimes leave a significant asymmetry between the breasts . Sometimes this can be improved by means of re-shaping the breast itself or adding tissue by structural fat grafting. Often, better symmetry can be achieved by altering the shape of both breasts using breast reduction or breast uplifting technques. Obviously, this type of treatment needs to be carefully tailored to the individual patient and a thorough consultation is usually the best way forward.

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Where can I get more information on breast reconstruction?

The first ports of call for additional information are usually your breast cancer specialist and your breast care nurse.

A variety of good web-based resources are available and give more detail on individual procedures. These include:

British Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
Cancer Bacup - online infornation and support
Cancer Research UK - research charity and useful online patient information

Mr Hamilton, of course, would be happy to offer you a consultation in London where the issues and potential procedures can be discussed in detail face to face.

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