Breast Reconstruction

A mastectomy may be a life-saving operation, but being left without one or both breasts can be a knock to your sense of self-identity and confidence. Breast reconstruction can give you back your natural figure.

There are many different methods of breast reconstructing. Some methods use implants only some use implants only, some use implants and natural tissue and some use only natural tissue borrowed from another parts of the body.

In our initial consultation, we will discuss your hopes and expectations and together other issues such as part medical history and body shape I will advise you on the suitable types of reconstructive breast surgery for you. It’s really important that we can arrive at a well informed consential decision as to the best way forward. I will endeavour to give you all the information to achieve this, answer all of your questions, show you images of previous patients.

Amongst the operations I regularly perform are the DIEP flap and the Latissimius Dorsi flap.

DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction

DIEP flap surgery involves making an incision along the bikini line. A section of skin, fat, and blood vessels are taken from the lower half of your belly in a similar manner to a “tummy tuck” operation.  This skin and tissue is then positioned in the chest and formed into a breast shape. Blood vessels in the tissue from the tummy are attached to blood vessels in your chest and these will feed the new tissue, which is then shaped into a breast. I have performed over 500 of these operations.

Lat Dorsi Breast Reconstruction

The Latissimus Dorsi is a back muscle, positioned below your shoulder blade. This surgical procedure involves moving an oval of this muscle and surrounding fat from the back, to the chest. The movement occurs under the skin, with the blood vessels still attached and operational throughout. The incision scar is typically positioned where it would be hidden by a bra strap.

Overview of Breast Reconstruction Operation and Recovery Period

4-8 hours under General Anaesthetic

All breast surgery patients will stay in hospital for up to 5 days, in order that we can monitor initial recovery.

Follow up appointments

One week after surgery, we will check recovery and remove the dressing.

Three further follow up appointments will be scheduled for the next 6 months.

4 – 8 Weeks

With DIEP Flap breast reconstruction, the body has two wounds to heal, so recovery may be slower than with other surgical procedures. You may be asked to wear a support garment under clothing during this period. I see a wide range of recovery times.

6 weeks min.

It is important to minimise the risk of damage whilst it is healing, but you can generally reintroduce gentle physical exercise after 6 weeks of recovery.

Risk Factors of Breast Reconstruction Surgery

A key outcome of our consultation is that I understand your expectations and you understand the risks.

Our consultation will establish the aims of your surgery: what it can and what it can’t achieve.

We will then discuss what will happen before, during and after your operation, what you will experience and the impact on your daily life during the recovery period.

I will describe the effects of surgery including some of the unavoidable consequences, such as the scar and areas which may become numb. I will illustrate these with photos and provide written information.

I will explain the risks of surgery such as bleeding, infection and wound healing problems and how to mitigate against them. I will also advise you about the risks from the anaesthetic such as a DVT (venous blood clot in the legs) and how we reduce these risks.

The consultation is a bespoke interaction between us to help you reach a considered and informed decision.

To arrange an initial consultation regarding post-mastectomy breast reconstruction surgery, please complete our enquiry form on contact page.
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Gallery of Cases – Reconstructive Breast Surgery – DIEP

Click and toggle through published cases below

Photos showing before and after a left breast delayed DIEP flap . The lower abdominal bulge is moved to the chest, leaving a scar as shown and moved to the chest to reconstruct the breast. The nipple has also been reconstructed. These photos show the changes to the abdomen and bust are from the same patient.

Photos showing the results of a patient who underwent a DIEP flap breast reconstructions some time after their mastectomy operation called a delayed reconstruction. The delay is usually to allow for treatment such as radiotherapy to the chest wall to take place before the reconstruction occurs.

Photos showing results after a skin sparing mastectomy and immediate DIEP flap breast reconstructions. This is not suitable for some patients with breast cancer.  In a skin sparing  mastectomy the breast is removed  through a small  scar around the nipple and areolar (which are also removed). In the first patient the left side is reconstructed but still needs a nipple reconstruction, shown at this stage so the scars can be visualised. The second patient the reconstruction is complete with nipple reconstructions and tattooing of the areolar.  This second patient had had mastectomies and reconstructions to both sides. 

Photo showing a nipple sparing mastectomy (called a subcutaneous mastectomy) and immediate DIEP breast reconstruction, This is usually used in risk reducing operations in patients who have have a genetic predisposition for breast cancer. In this case the patients original nipple is preserved.

Photographs showing some mature scars on the abdomen after DIEP flap breast reconstruction. For some people the “tummy tuck” element is aesthetically positive to them. For some people who would not have benefitted from a tummy tuck the scar is more intrusive for them.

Gallery of Cases – Reconstructive Breast Surgery – Lat Dorsi

Click and toggle through published cases below

Photos showing before and after a lat dorsi reconstruction (using tissue from the back) and an implant. The other side has also made larger with an implant to give symmetry

Photos showing a before and after a right lat dorsi breast reconstruction. The left side has been reduced and uplifted to give symmetry.

Photos showing before and after a Lat dorsi reconstruction. The other side has had an uplift to give symmetry