Breast reconstruction following breast cancer can be a complicated process, with many things to consider – but when you are in the hands of an experienced reconstructive surgeon, he or she can help guide you through this difficult time and provide the best results.
There are three types of surgeons who are involved with removing the cancer and reconstructing the breast: “breast surgeons,” “oncoplastic surgeons” and “plastic and reconstructive surgeons.”
'Breast surgeons are general surgeons whose job is tackling the cancer with a lumpectomy or mastectomy,' says Adam Searle, consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London.
Oncoplastic surgeons are breast surgeons with further training – ‘they clear the cancer and will do some reconstruction.’
Lastly, there are plastic and reconstructive surgeons who offer the full range of reconstruction techniques. Various options for breast reconstruction are now available to create a new breast that is similar in size, shape and texture to the original. Some techniques involve implants, others use autologous tissue (the patient’s own tissue from another part of the body), or a combination of both. The best thing to do is to have a consultation with a plastic and reconstruction surgeon, who will discuss all the options with you.
From the list of the UK’s top 10 breast reconstructive surgeons:
Consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, Essex
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT MR RAMAKRISHNAN: He is technically excellent and has pushed the boundaries with the most challenging microsurgical techniques. Free flaps - pieces of tissue from, say, the tummy - are taken to recreate the breast. Microsurgons have to be able to plumb veins with the tiniest stitches to ensure that transplanted tissue survives in its new home in the breast.
Consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Nottingham Breast Unit, Nottingham City Hospital
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT MR McCULLEY: Forward-thinking. Has training in oncoplastic techniques, so is able to clear cancer (as breast surgeons do) and carry out reconstruction.
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Consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Royal Free Hospital, London
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT MR FLOYD: Fine pair of hands and a good decision-maker.