Breast Reconstruction FAQs
Deciding whether to have reconstructive surgery is a difficult decision, and an option that you may or may not decide to take.
A lot of factors should be taken into consideration, such as how you feel at the moment, and how you feel about your body. We want to provide you with information that is clear, easy to understand, and help you make the right choice.
Below you’ll find a list of frequently asked questions about breast reconstruction. However, this information cannot replace a full and open discussion between you and your medical physician about the procedure, choice of implants, and the risks and benefits of the procedure.
It’s your body and it’s your choice! Some women desire a larger implant than fits their natural body proportions. You’ll need to talk about what’s practical and possible with your surgeon and trust their judgement – after all, they have performed many procedures, and are true experts in beautiful results.
Breast reconstruction is the creation of a new breast shape using surgery. It may be performed following removal of the whole breast (mastectomy) or part of the breast (lumpectomy). The aim is to reconstruct a breast of similar size and shape to your original breast. However, they won’t be identical.
It is important to understand the differences between silicon and silicone. Silicon is a common mineral chemical element and the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust. Silicone is a man-made polymer containing chains of Silicon-Oxygen-Carbon compounds. The most frequent is Poly-Dimethylsiloxane (PDMS). Depending on their structure, silicones can be liquid, gel or solid.
All medical devices carry a degree of risk however, since 1992 the Institute of Medicine of the Academy of Sciences has declared the implantation of ‘silicone’ breast implants to be safe.
GC Aesthetics® implants are composed of medical grade silicone gel and elastomer. GC Aesthetics® does not use latex or natural rubber in the manufacturing or primary packaging of its implantable products. However please note we have not performed any testing on our products to confirm that they are latexfree.
The pain associated with breast implant surgery depends upon which specific surgery you choose to undertake, whether you choose submuscular or subglandular placement and your individual reaction to the surgery. Generally, post-surgical swelling is to be expected, as well as some pain and discomfort, which can be managed with pain relief medicine.
The procedure is routinely performed under general anesthesia and will last last a few hours depending on the extent of the breast reconstruction surgery. To ensure the highest standard of personalised patient care, you will be required to spend the appropriate time before and after the surgery within the clinic/ hospital, allowing time for pre-operative procedures and post-operative care.
The extent of the surgery will determine the length of stay in the hospital, but you are likely to be discharged within a day or two following surgery, depending on your general health and your surgeon’s preferences. It is recommended that you arrange for someone to drive you to the clinic/hospital and collect you upon discharge.
You should be aware that breast implants may interfere with the detection of cancer and that breast compression during mammography may cause implant rupture.
Interference with mammography by breast implants may delay or hinder detection of breast cancer either by hiding suspicious lesions or by making it more difficult to include them in the image (x-ray, ultrasounds). Implants increase the difficulty of both taking and reading mammograms.
You should tell the radiological technologist about the presence of implants before mammography is performed.*
*Brown S.L., J.F. TODD, H.M. LUU. 2004. Breast implant adverse events during mammography: reports to the FDA. J. Womens Health (Larchmt). 13(4):371-8; discussion 379-80 PMID:15195650™
Women of childbearing age should know that they may not be able to breastfeed after breast reconstruction. Some women who undergo breast reconstruction can successfully breastfeed and some cannot. It is important to discuss the options of breastfeeding with your surgeon prior to your operation.*
*Hurst N.M. 1996. Lactation after augmentation mammoplasty. Obstet. Gynecol. 87:30-4 PMID:8532261™
Round implants add volume to the upper part of the breast giving a lifted look, while contoured (anatomical) implants give a more discreet look more in-keeping with the natural shape of the breast.
This is the ‘projection’ of the implant – so how far it will stand out. We make a variety of different profiles to fit different women and the looks they want to achieve. High and extra high are the largest, while medium and low are more subtle.
Because women are different shapes and sizes, and want to achieve different looks. Whether you’re considering a curvy silhouette, would like to create small-but-perfectly-formed breasts, or restore fullness after weight loss; each requires different shapes and sizes. So we offer physicians an expansive range to choose from to find your perfect fit.
Breast size and shape should be something to talk about with your surgeon. You’ll also want to discuss whether to use round or anatomical shaped implants and review the many choices of size and weight available.
You’ll need to think before your consultation about the shape and overall size that you are seeking, then talk with your surgeon about which implants will get you as close to your desired shape as possible.
You should be aware that if you undergo reconstruction to one breast, it will not be identical to your natural breast.
Many women believe they will be too large after surgery and ask their surgeon to choose a smaller size than they actually want. However, you will likely become more comfortable with your new breast shape after surgery… in fact, many wish they had opted for a larger size after all!
It depends if you want them to! Each woman’s body is different, and before and after photos of women who have had breast implant surgery aren’t always representative of what you’ll look like. If you want natural-looking results, make it clear to your surgeon from the outset, and they’ll advise what’s possible.
If you’ve carefully researched, checked your surgeon’s credentials and taken the time to feel really confident about your decision, it’s unlikely you’ll be unhappy with the results of your surgery.
Your breast implants will need to be replaced during the course of your life. Implants are not lifetime devices and are subject to wear and tear like any other implant device (e.g. tooth fillings, heart valves, hip joints).*
*Cohen BE, Biggs TM, Cronin ED, Collins DR Jr. Assessment and longevity of the silicone gel breast implant. Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 1997 May:99(6):1597-601 PMID:9145128®