A Breast Cancer diagnosis turns the world upside down. Losing part or all of one or both breasts can be traumatic. Coming to terms with treatment, the reconstructive-surgery options and what they entail will require time and investigation.

Considerations include the type of cancer, stage of cancer, location of cancer cells, further treatment requirements, state of health, individual anatomy and personal preferences.

At each step in your recovery journey it is vital to ask questions and get specific information about your health options from caring medical professionals. Take the time you need to understand what options are available to you. Empowering yourself with knowledge allows you a pro-active role in the decision-making process. When you are informed and ready, move forward with confidence on the path that is correct for you.

Getting Your Silhouette Back

While this guide serves as an overview of elements that will influence Reconstructive Surgery – a scheduled consultation with Dr Potgieter will better your understanding of what is possible in your unique recovery.

Skin-Sparing Mastectomy or Breast Conserving Surgery

This surgical procedure seeks to keep as much of one’s own tissue and skin (including the nipple) intact. At times reconstruction is not needed but in many instances it is.

In this course of action; it is important that reconstruction take place immediately i.e. within the same surgery. Breasts are reconstructed using a breast prosthesis &/ one’s own tissue.

Dr Potgieter works with implants, a latissimus dorsi flap, a TRAM flap or a combination thereof. This surgery offers high satisfaction rates and excellent cosmetic outcomes but it is not always the medically suitable or appropriate option…

Full Mastectomy

This treatment course entails removing the full breast. There are multiple variations of a full mastectomy. Some leave lymph glands and underlying muscle intact while others involve complete removal of either or both. Even with a full mastectomy it can be possible to spare the nipple.

If it is determined that a reconstruction is desired and appropriate after a mastectomy procedure; tissue expanders may be employed. A tissue expander is placed below the chest muscles. It is then inflated with Saline Solution.

Expanders stretch the dermomuscular layer and prepare the skin for the placement of a breast prosthetic/implant. The goal with tissue expander is to aid in the reconstruction of a breast to be as close to the size and volume as the tissue that was removed.

When the work of the tissue expander is complete, it is exchanged with a more permanent implant. Nipple Reconstruction can then be completed.

Breast Reconstruction Journey

Single Stage Reconstruction

The name accurately describes this procedure. Breast Reconstruction Surgery is done in one step. This eliminates the need for the implementation of tissue expanders. It cuts down time in theatre and may reduce the number of procedures necessary. However, even with Single Stage Reconstruction it is possible that after time – an individual may desire further refinement to the aesthetic appearance of the reconstructed breast. Changes can be made to achieve further symmetry or contour but the placed implant is unlikely to be exchanged.

Multiple Stage Reconstruction

Multiple Stage Reconstruction is the alternative to Single Stage Reconstruction. It is practical and often the medically necessary approach to safety, restoring body shape and aesthetic during and after Breast Cancer Treatment. Simply put, it requires the use of multiple surgical interventions. These could include the exchange of the tissue expander with a prosthesis, nipple reconstruction, fat grafting, or contour adjustments.

This is most likely to be the avenue requisite if further radiation treatments will be carried out after the initial surgery.

Excellent Results & On-Target Expectations

Board-Certified Cosmetic Surgeon Dr Anton Potgieter is well-equipped to surgically reconstruct breasts impacted by Breast Cancer. Breast surgeries are the most common procedure carried out in his Johannesburg practice.

In his experience, achieving results that restore confidence and an aesthetic that one is pleased with often requires a minimum of two surgeries. Dr Potgieter is ready to explain your options and what is surgically available to suit your needs.
Contact the doctor today for a consultation.
• Visit our Reconstructive Surgery webpage.

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