Breast reconstruction is a complex reconstructive procedure most commonly performed following complete or partial mastectomy for breast cancer. After the trauma of cancer treatment, it represents an important part of restoring self esteem and body image.
For many of Mr Lin’s patients, it has come to symbolize the defining step in regaining what cancer has taken away.
What options are available today?
Many options are available for reconstructing the breast. These can broadly be categorized as autologous reconstruction (using one’s own tissue) and implant based reconstruction. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, and while both are able to achieve great results, the ultimate choice is a very individual decision.
Mr Lin will guide you through the decision making process, taking into account various factors such as breast volume, body shape, nature of your breast cancer treatment and, of course, your goals and expectations.
Am I suitable for autologous breast reconstruction?
While many options exist, one of the most common autologous options is to use one’s own abdominal tissue. This is sometimes called a DIEP flap based on the blood supply of the tissue that is harvested from the abdomen.
The advantages of using ones own tissue include:
- Best possible shape and feel in the reconstructed breast.
- A breast that moves and ages naturally.
- Avoiding all implant related problems.
Some disadvantages include longer operating time, longer hospital stay and longer recovery. Of course, additional incisions are required to harvest donor tissue.
Am I suitable for implant based breast reconstruction?
Compared to using autologous tissue, implant based reconstruction does not require additional incision in other areas of the body. As a result, operation time and hospital stays are generally shorter, and recovery quicker. However, while excellent results can be achieved with implant based reconstruction, implants themselves can carry its own risks and may not achieve the same shape and feel of a breast reconstructed using autologous tissue.
Breast reconstruction represents a special area of expertise for Mr Lin, who has pursued fellowship training in the United Kingdom with world renowned Professor Venkat Ramakrishnan in microsurgical breast reconstruction. He is a member of the breast reconstruction team at Epworth Eastern Private Hospital, Eastern Health and Peninsula Health, and works closely with breast cancer surgeons and oncologist at these institutions.
*Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.