Frequently Asked Questions
Breast reconstruction surgeries are medical procedures that aim to restore the shape and volume of a woman’s breast after it has been lost to cancer, trauma or infection.
Our doctors have been working as a team performing implant and microsurgical breast reconstruction at SGH for over 10 years and they have a proven track record of safety and good breast aesthetics. The size and shape of your breast can be restored using implants, your own tissue, or a combination. Our surgeons are well trained in all forms of breast reconstruction and have vast experience in microsurgical forms of reconstruction such as DIEP flaps (from the tummy, but preserving your muscle) and TUG flaps (from the thigh).
For reconstruction with implants it can be done in one or two surgeries, your surgeon will advise you on which method is suitable for you.
Tissue can be taken from the tummy or thigh or other suitable areas. We can advise you which method is suitable for you. In general, we will only take the tissues that are necessary to shape your breast, sparing your muscle whenever possible. What does this mean for you? It means shorter recovery times and getting back to normal life faster.
Women who have lost, or are going to lose, their breast to cancer are the most common patients we see. Other patients who may seek breast reconstruction are those that have had silicone removed from their breasts or have suffered from a severe infection or trauma.
Outcomes for breast reconstruction are best when the surgery is done at the same time as the mastectomy, however it can be performed even years after the mastectomy.
Reconstruction with an implant will give you the fastest recovery, about 1-2 weeks.
For reconstruction with a flap, you should be back to normal activities by one month.
Our goal is to match the opposite breast as much as possible in one operation. If it is not achieved in one surgery, small revision procedures can be performed to achieve symmetry.
Flap surgery: There is a small risk that the blood supply to the flap is inadequate. If this occurs, your surgeon will try to fix the problem. If the problem cannot be fixed, the flap will need to be removed.
Implant: A fluid collection called a ‘seroma’ can form around the implant that may require prolonged drainage. Being a foreign material, an implant has a risk of becoming infected. Some patients develop hardening around the implant (known as ‘capsular contracture’) several years after the surgery. A small percentage of women have developed Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), this is a rare lymphoma that can be cured by removing the implant and surrounding capsule.
There is no evidence that breast reconstruction has any effect on the effective treatment of breast cancer.
Breast reconstruction is a medical procedure, not a cosmetic procedure, even though we aim to give you an aesthetically pleasing result. Whether it is covered by insurance will depend on your policy, but most policies cover it.
Yes, both breasts can be reconstructed at the same time.