YOUR RECONSTRUCTION OPTIONS

Post mastectomy most women opt for breast reconstruction. There are a variety of reconstructive options but you may not be a candidate for all types. 

Remember: early detection saves lives!

Find out more about the treatments available to you at Milpark via their Breast Cancer website

When to have your breast reconstruction performed is a decision made in conjunction with the other doctors treating your breast cancer, as the need for chemotherapy or radiation will influence when reconstructive surgery can safely take place.

Breast reconstruction is either performed during the same time as a lumpectomy or mastectomy, or at a later date.

If Breast Reconstruction occurs at the same time it is referred to as immediate, and if it occurs at a later date it is referred to as delayed.

Immediate breast reconstruction offers psychological benefits by avoiding a time lapse in addressing any cosmetic change, and also minimizes the number of surgeries for the patient.

Delayed reconstruction is sometimes performed because the patient chooses to wait, or in some cases the patient was not aware at the time that reconstructive options existed.  Other patients are unhappy with the results of their reconstruction and now seek to undergo an alternative surgical method, such as replacing implants with their body’s own natural tissue.

There are a number of breast reconstruction procedures that can help rebuild the breasts. Procedures are tailored to the individual patient, and the type of procedure you have will depend on cancer considerations, your ultimate goals, and your unique body type.

But do not get overwhelmed. We will discuss this in more details during your consultation.

When it comes to breast cancer and breast reconstruction, it’s vital to be surrounded and helped by people who know exactly how to guide you and who can make the process run smoother for you.

The Breast Care unit at Milpark will be there for you every step of the way and will bring you invaluable support in every aspect.

 

Breast Reconstruction Techniques

Tissue Expansion is one of the breast reconstruction techniques that I offer.

This type of breast reconstruction involves the insertion of a silicone balloon under the skin to expand the tissue in the area. Periodic injections of saline solution cause the skin to stretch and form a pocket for a breast implant. The expander is removed after the growth process is complete and an implant is placed. The nipple and areola can be reconstructed later if the patient desires.

 

Breast Reconstruction with Implants

Some patients have enough skin in the breast area to place an implant for breast reconstruction without the need of a tissue expander. The implant can be placed under the skin and the nipple and areola reconstructed at a later date.
Did you know that women who need post mastectomy chemotherapy are still candidates for implants?

You will need to discuss all your reconstruction options with me. Your breast reconstruction approach and recovery will depend largely on:

    • Your cancer
    • The need for post-mastectomy radiation
    • Long term risk
    • Skin and tissue quality
    • Desired aesthetic result

Whether you are considering breast reconstruction with implants during or after mastectomy surgery, you will want to discuss with me whether the use of a tissue expander will be necessary.

In addition, you can discuss your options for further reconstruction including re-creation of the nipple and areola.

Have you had breast reconstruction? I would love if you blogged your story – please send us your link. It would be a great help to others.

Flap Surgery

Flap surgery is a method of breast reconstruction that takes living tissue carrying its own blood supply from a donor area of the body to the breast area.

There are a variety of techniques with flap surgery including:

  • TRAM Flap Reconstruction (skin, muscle, and fat taken from the lower abdomen and transferred to the breast area)
  • DIEP Flap Reconstruction (skin, fat, and blood vessels are removed from the abdomen to reconstruct the breast)
  • Latissimus Flap Reconstruction (skin, muscle, and fat taken from the outer back and rotated forward to form the breast mound, followed by implant placement). Nipple and areolar reconstruction can also be performed at a later time.

I hope you enjoyed this newsletter, remember that more information about  Breast Cancer and Breast Reconstruction surgery can be found by clicking on this link.  Lastly, if you would like to contact the Milpark Breast Care unit, dial+27 11 480 5779 or 0860 233 233 or send an email to breasthealth@netcare.co.za

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BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY

The truth is, every woman is bound to experience a breast complaint at some stage of her life and breast concerns can occur at any stage of a woman’s life but most importantly, did you know that 9 out of 10 breast problems are benign and are in no way related to cancer?! 

 

While most women are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and to encourage others to do the same.

We’ve come a long way but a lot of progress still needs to be made. Make sure to spread the awareness and share these posts with those around you! When it comes to breast cancer and breast reconstruction, I believe it is crucial to remain aware of all the ways that you can stay proactive and also of all the options that are available to women nowadays.

On the NetCare Breast Cancer page (at Milpark Hospital) you get to read about inspirational cancer survivors’ stories but also about everything related to breast health such as prevention and self-exam.

Do you know what self-examination for breast cancer consists of?

 

Self-Examinations

By performing self-examinations regularly, you get to know how your breasts normally look and feel which allows you to more readily detect any signs or symptoms if a change occurs, such as:

  • Development of a lump or swelling
  • Skin irritation
  • Dimpling
  • Nipple pain or retraction (turning inward)
  • Redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin
  • A discharge other than breast milk

Should you notice any changes you should see your health care provider as soon as possible for evaluation. If you wish to undergo further testing / screening call my Fourways rooms on 011 875 1630

BREAST RECONSTRUCTION AND THE NETCARE BREAST CENTRE AT MILPARK HOSPITAL

 

This month, I will talk about Breast Reconstruction. Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer can be devastating, and the possibility of needing a lumpectomy or mastectomy can be incredibly overwhelming. Fortunately however, multiple options for breast reconstruction are available to restore breasts and help you feel stronger than ever.

I believe that breast reconstruction hold tremendous psychological and physiological benefits and feel blessed to be able to offer advanced surgical techniques to my patients.

As a plastic surgeon, I perform lots of breast surgeries such a breast reduction, breast augmentation or breast lift at my Fourways practice.

I also perform Breast Reconstruction surgery at the Milpark hospital.

Did you know that NetCare Breast Centre at Milpark Hospital has an excellent Breast Cancer unit? Breast Care is packed full of informative resources and advice. This makes me even more proud to work in association with NetCare!

I have written many blog posts on breast cancer and breast reconstruction in the past – as raising Breast Cancer Awareness to me is important. You can view them right here 

I also post medical information pertaining to different procedure via my Facebook page.

Please remember to spread the awareness and to share this info with those around you.

Breast Cancer, Part 5

Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Breast Reconstruction is always performed under general anesthesia and in most cases is covered by medical aid.

Implant breast reconstruction is a more simple operation than flap breast reconstruction, with a slightly shorter recovery time than other types of reconstruction.

  • It leaves less scarring on the breast and no scars elsewhere on your body.
  • It can give a good appearance, particularly for women with small breasts or women having both breasts reconstructed.
  • No operating on healthy tissue or extra scars
  • No missing tissue missing elsewhere in the body

Unfortunately not everyone is eligible for implant reconstruction. We will have to discuss what is best for you for not only immediate recovery but also long-term satisfaction. What would you choose?

Remember to get yourself checked regularly, there is additional information and you can stay in touch with me via Facebook @DrCharlesSerrurier

Breast Cancer, Part 4

Breast Cancer Diagnosis

If you are diagnosed with Breast Cancer, there are numerous types of treatments that, depending on your case will be available to you. I will discuss all your options during the consultation process.
It is also important to know that there are numerous chat rooms and support groups of Breast Cancer patients to help you work through your treatment and recovery.

There is help, there is support, and you are not alone. Reach out.

Breast Cancer Surgery removes unhealthy tissue and may cause asymmetry. This surgery is performed by a breast surgeon. Plastic surgery for breast reconstruction will repair and restore, as close as possible, the natural appearance and symmetry of the breast, replacing skin, breast tissue, and the nipple which may have been removed during a mastectomy.

The amount of tissue removed varies with each mastectomy. Factors contributing to the amount of tissue removed include the width, size, and location of the original tumor and its proximity to the armpit from which the lymph glands are removed.

Is Breast Reconstruction Considered Cosmetic Surgery?

Restoring the breast through breast reconstruction is not considered cosmetic surgery. Operations performed to restore anatomy and symmetry, like breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, is considered reconstructive surgery – this means that in most cases your breast reconstruction will be covered by medical aid.

After a mastectomy would you choose to undergo a breast reconstruction or simply live without breasts? I see both types of patients in my practice.

Timing of breast reconstruction is based on the woman’s desires, other medical conditions, and breast cancer treatment. For many women, immediate reconstruction reduces the trauma of having a breast removed, as well as the expense and discomfort of undergoing two major operations.

It is also possible to do breast reconstruction months or years after a mastectomy. For some women, this may be advised if radiation following mastectomy was or will be performed.
We will discuss you best options during the consultation process. Call my Fourways rooms to make an appointment 011 875 1630

Breast Cancer, Part 3

Screening / Testing for Breast Cancer

Early detection will not prevent breast cancer, but it can help find it when the likelihood of successful treatment is greatest. Do you give yourself regular check-ups? Do you know how to give yourself a breast exam?

Self-Examinations

By performing self-examinations regularly, you get to know how your breasts normally look and feel which allows you to more readily detect any signs or symptoms if a change occurs, such as:

  • Development of a lump or swelling
  • Skin irritation
  • Dimpling
  • Nipple pain or retraction (turning inward)
  • Redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin
  • A discharge other than breast milk

Should you notice any changes you should see your health care provider as soon as possible for evaluation. If you wish to undergo further testing / screening call my Fourways rooms on 011 875 1630

A clinical breast exam (CBE) is an examination of your breasts by a health care professional, such as a doctor or nurse. For this exam, you undress from the waist up. The health care professional will first look at your breasts for abnormalities in size or shape, or changes in the skin of the breasts or nipple. Then, using the pads of the fingers, the examiner will gently feel (palpate) your breasts.

Special attention will be given to the shape and texture of the breasts, location of any lumps, and whether such lumps are attached to the skin or to deeper tissues. The area under both arms will also be examined

Breast Cancer, Part 2

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast. A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body. The disease occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get it, too.

To understand breast cancer, it helps to have some basic knowledge about the normal structure of the breasts.

Benign Breast Lumps: Fibrosis and Cysts

Most lumps turn out to be caused by fibrosis and/or cysts. Fibrosis is the formation of scar-like (fibrous) tissue, and cysts are fluid-filled sacs. These conditions are most often diagnosed by a doctor based on symptoms, such as breast lumps, swelling, and tenderness or pain. These symptoms tend to be worse just before a woman’s menstrual period is about to begin. The breasts may feel lumpy and, sometimes, one may notice a clear or slightly cloudy nipple discharge.

A biopsy may determine whether a lump is a malignant or benign. Check your breasts regularly for lumps and pumps.

Regular Exercise, Health Care Tips & Preventative Care

  • Regular exercise can improve your physical and emotional health.
  • It improves your cardiovascular (heart and circulation) fitness.
  • Along with a good diet, it will help you get to and stay at a healthy weight.
  • It makes your muscles stronger.
  • It reduces fatigue and helps you have more energy.
  • It can help lower anxiety and depression.
  • It can make you feel happier.
  • It helps you feel better about yourself.
  • And long term, plays a role in helping to lower the risk of some cancers
  • Chemoprevention is the use of drugs to reduce the risk of cancer. Several drugs have been studied for lowering breast cancer risk

Breast Cancer, Part 1

Breast Cancer

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According to the South African National Cancer Registry, one in 29 women in South Africa will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Early detection saves lives and that is why I am continuing the campaign through November.

What is the difference between Normal Cells vs. Cancer Cells?

Normal body cells grow, divide into new cells, and die in an orderly way. In an adult, most cells divide only to replace worn-out or dying cells or to repair injuries.

Cancer cell growth is different from normal cell growth. Instead of dying, cancer cells continue to grow and form new, abnormal cells. Cells become cancerous due to damage to our DNA. This damage may be inherited or occur within ones’ lifetime.

DNA is in every cell and directs all cellular actions. In a normal cell, when DNA gets damaged the cell either repairs the damage or the cell dies. In cancer cells, the damaged DNA is not repaired, but the cell doesn’t die like it should. Instead, this cell goes on making new cells that the body does not need. These new cells will all have the same damaged DNA as the first cell does.

Different types of cancer can behave very differently. For example, lung cancer and breast cancer are very different diseases. They grow at different rates and respond to different treatments. That is why people with cancer need treatment that is aimed at their particular kind of cancer.

The difference between Benign VS Cancerous Tumors

Not all tumors are cancerous. Tumors that aren’t cancer are called benign. Benign tumors can still cause problems – they can grow very large and press on healthy organs and tissues. But they cannot grow into other tissues. Because they can’t invade, they also can’t spread to other parts of the body (metastasize). These tumors are almost never life threatening.

What is the difference between Invasive and Non-Invasive breast cancer?

Invasive breast cancer – the cancer cells break out from inside the lobules or ducts and invade nearby tissue. With this type of cancer, the abnormal cells can reach the lymph nodes, and eventually make their way to other organs (metastasis), such as the bones, liver or lungs.

The abnormal (cancer) cells can travel through the bloodstream or the lymphatic system to other parts of the body; either early on in the disease, or later.

Non-invasive breast cancer – this is when the cancer is still inside its place of origin and has not broken out. Lobular carcinoma in situ is when the cancer is still inside the lobules, while ductal carcinoma in situ is when they are still inside the milk ducts.

“In situ” means “in its original place”. Sometimes, this type of breast cancer is called “pre-cancerous”; this means that although the abnormal cells have not spread outside their place of origin, they can eventually develop into invasive breast cancer.

What are the Breast Reconstruction options?

Remember, I shall be updating the blog with more information throughout the month, you can also find me on Facebook