These days it seems that life is full of challenges, many of which we cannot control. For many women diagnosed with breast cancer, the disease not only threatens our existence but also our identity. Handling the loss of a breast can be surprisingly difficult and self esteem can plummet dramatically.
Finding out you have Breast Cancer is devastating to come to terms with. Then dealing with treatment and the possibility of losing one or both breasts to a mastectomy operation is extremely harrowing for any woman to go through.
Anita Hazari, a consultant plastic surgeon at McIndoe Surgical Centre has helped many ladies who have gone through this difficult time in their lives, to overcome the final hurdle and regain their confidence with a breast reconstruction.
She says “Breast reconstruction offers a chance to feel normal and do ‘normal’ things, such as wear camisole tops in the summer. Not feeling hot and sweaty under the prosthesis in the warm weather. Not worrying when taking the children or grand-children swimming. NICE guidelines state that every woman undergoing a mastectomy should, at the very least, be offered a consultation for breast reconstruction!”
Because there are varying (or different) methods of reconstruction which need to be tailored to individual patients, careful discussion and assessment is essential with the attending surgeon.
If you are considering breast reconstruction your surgeon should allow you a detailed consultation to cover all areas and guide you through your options.
One of the lesser known types of reconstruction is called the TUG (transverse upper gracilis) Flap Breast Reconstruction. This procedure takes skin and fat from the inner thigh to recreate the breast, instead of the more commonly used tummy which for many women is a very suitable and preferred area to use, providing them with a tummy tuck and using the excess skin to create the new breast. However for women of a small build, who may not have the excess skin and fat needed to make a breast from their tummy, or they simply don’t want the scars on their tummy, the inner thigh is a perfect solution.
The TUG flap reconstruction uses tissue from the inner portion of the upper thigh, just under the groin crease to reconstruct a natural-shaped breast. Patients get an “inner thigh lift” and the skin and fat, with the gracilis muscle, is detached from its blood supply in the thigh and re-attached to blood vessels in the chest.
Many women prefer the “natural” reconstruction, using tissue from their own body as it makes a more natural feeling breast. Once the reconstruction is finished there should be no more surgery needed, unlike an implant based reconstruction, where the implant will need to be changed in 10 or 15 years time. The natural reconstruction will also age with you. If you put weight on, so will your new breast and vice versa.
If you would like a consultation with Anita Hazari at McIndoe Surgical Centre please visit www.mcindoesurgical.co.uk or contact our helpline on 0800 917 4922.