Breast Cancer & Reconstruction overview
Which procedures does this include?
Breast Cancer Treatment
There are many different types of breast cancer, which present at different stages and therefore treatment varies for each patient. Undergoing treatment can be an extremely daunting experience; Stephen McCulley and his team understand this and will ensure you receive the best care possible.
Oncoplastic Breast Surgery
Oncoplastic breast surgery uses plastic surgery techniques to treat breast cancer. Through this process Stephen McCulley can remove the cancer and also improve the appearance of the affected area at the same time. Stephen McCulley is a leading world expert in this field of breast cancer surgery.
Breast Reconstruction Overview
We understand that deciding on whether to have breast reconstruction or not can be a difficult process, especially when you are dealing with your diagnosis and treatment. Whilst we can guide and support you as much as possible, ultimately the decision is yours and should be made on what is best for you and your health.
This form of reconstruction involves placing an implant under the chest wall muscle and skin. It is usually done as a two stage operation. Firstly an inflatable balloon (tissue expander) is placed under the muscle. This is inflated with a series of injections of saline water to stretch the skin. A permanent implant is then inserted 3-6 months later.
Using the Tummy (DIEP flap)
This involves the removal of the skin and fat from the lower tummy (the same tissues as taken during a tummy tuck operation) which is then used to reconstruct the breast. The tummy skin and fat is the closest like for like replacement of the breast. It is for this reason it can produce very life like reconstructions. However, most importantly this type of ‘own body tissue’ reconstruction will last a life time.
Using The Back
The back is commonly used to reconstruct the breast using three different methods. Stephen McCulley often uses the back as a skin source in order to perform a breast reconstruction. Stephen commonly finds this gives better results than the stand-alone implant reconstruction.
Using the Thigh, Buttock and Other
Although the tummy and back are the most common areas to take skin and fat from for a breast reconstruction, it is also feasible to take it from other areas of the body. The most commonly used alternatives are from the inner thigh (known as the Gracilis or TUG – Transverse Upper Gracilis) flap or from the buttock (S-GAP or I-GAP flap).
Nipple reconstruction can often ‘finish’ a breast reconstruction. It is a relatively minor operation performed under local anaesthetic. However, it is not essential and some patients elect not to have it done – as with all areas of breast reconstruction, the decision lies with the patient.
Lymphedema is swelling of a body part due to the blockage or absence of lymphatic channels. Removal of lymph nodes as part of cancer treatment is the most common cause of secondary lymphedema. This would see arm swelling after some cancer treatments or leg swelling following some gynaecological cancer surgery.