Types of procedure
With many reconstructions the new breast does not necessarily match the size and shape of the remaining breast. Consequently the other breast may be made larger or smaller to match.
You may have to, or choose to, have a bilateral mastectomy (removal of both breasts) — either due to the cancer being diagnosed in both breasts or because there is a high risk of breast cancer in the future due to genetic test results or strong family history.
If you have a particularly large or droopy breast on the other side, or if you feel it is too small you should discuss the possibility of symmetrising surgery.
Immediate symmetry may not be possible due to a number of factors. Here are some examples;
- Sometimes with implant reconstruction, you may need an adjustment to the other breast. It’s not always easy to create an implant reconstruction that exactly matches the remaining breast.
- Lipofilling / lipomodelling may also be used to augment either of the breasts.
- If you decide to make the reconstructed breast larger or smaller than it was before, or have it lifted higher, your surgeon will need to alter the opposite breast to match.
- Over time you may find that the opposite breast needs adjustment to truly match
These procedures can happen at the same time as mastectomy, or, in some cases, you and your doctor may decide to wait to adjust the opposite breast until the breast reconstruction has healed and settled into place.
There for you
One of our proudest achievements was to fund a clinical psychologist at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital who specialised in supporting breast cancer patients.
This service was not initially going to supported by the NHS, but after Keeping Abreast funded it for 18 months the Trust saw the value of it and decided to take on the funding.