Breast reconstruction

Breast reconstruction treatment at the Clínica

Breast reconstruction is an essential part of the treatment of a patient with breast cancer. It can be total or partial, using prosthesis or the patient’s own tissues.

The objective is to improve her physical appearance, as close as possible to her previous situation, which will help the patient with her self-esteem.

The Clinica Universidad de Navarra has a Breast Cancer Area consisting of highly experienced professionals. Our plastic surgeons are highly specialised and can begin applying reconstructive techniques as soon as possible, if the patient wishes.

The most appropriate breast reconstruction techniques for each individual depend on various factors such as body constitution, the presence of excess skin fat in certain locations, the need for radiation therapy and the lifestyle and preferences of each patient.

In any case, the plastic surgeon will inform each individual about her options and the most appropriate technique for performing the procedure.

For the fist time in Spain a breast reconstruction was carried out with the tissue from the patient's thigh. [Video only available in Spanish]

The advantages of breast reconstruction with tissues from the patient are primarily a better appearance of the breast, a lower possibility of complications and a more symmetrical appearance with the breast on the other side."

Total breast reconstruction is performed for women who have had their entire breast removed to control their breast cancer.

There are various techniques, and each has its indications and advantages. The selection of one or the other will depend on the plastic surgeon, who will evaluate each patient’s characteristics.

The techniques of partial reconstruction are employed for patients who have undergone extirpation of part of their breast (lumpectomy or quadrantectomy).

These operations can cause defects that can result in obvious breast asymmetry and an unsightly appearance.

There are two procedures whose indication will depend on the patient’s characteristics and the area that must be reconstructed:

  • Displacement techniques. These are indicated for cases in which the area to be repaired is not too extensive. They also require sufficient surrounding tissue to reconstruct the affected area and achieve a balanced and aesthetic appearance.
  • Replacement techniques. These are indicated for cases in which the area to be reconstructed is too extensive and it is not possible to repair it with surrounding tissue. Partial resection of distal tissue is employed.

The objective is to achieve the best aesthetic result for the patient. There are several techniques that improve the appearance of both the reconstructed breast and the contralateral breast.

Reconstruction of the nipple-areolar complex
This is a simple procedure whose application indicated approximately six months after the last breast surgery. This technique can be performed through under local anaesthesia and with skin from inguinal region or though surgery, under local anaesthesia and with skin from the inguinal region or through tattooing.

Contralateral breast symmetrisation
Breast reconstruction occasionally involves a procedure on the contralateral breast to achieve better symmetry.

These procedures include the following:

  • Reduction: reducing the size of the contralateral breast.
  • Pexia: contralateral breast lift.
  • Augmentation: placement of a breast implant in the contralateral breast.

Although these procedures can be performed at the same time as the reconstruction, it is advisable to wait until a few months after the reconstruction.

Lymphoedema is an accumulation in the interstitial compartment of lymphatic fluid that cannot circulate due to a lymphatic system disorder.

This condition has a prevalence rate of up to 40% in women with breast cancer.

In many cases, it significantly affects the patient’s quality of life.

The objective of surgical treatment is to reduce the volume, recover function, eliminate pain, improve skin condition, reduce fibrosis and prevent and treat infections.

> Read more about the treatment for lymphoedema [SP]

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