The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) launched Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day Australia in 2013 to raise awareness about breast reconstruction so all women, no matter where they live, have the same access to information.

In the spirit of BRA Day, this blog is about educating and building awareness around post-mastectomy breast reconstructions. A breast reconstruction is just one of many ways for women to restore confidence after breast cancer.

Did you know only around 10% of Australian women who have had a mastectomy go on to have a reconstruction?

While there is research showing there can be physical and emotional benefits for women who have a reconstruction, we believe not enough women are aware of all their options, or perhaps their options are not fully explained to them.

A mastectomy can be a very traumatic and personal experience for some women, and this can impact decision making when considering further surgery.

What some women don’t know is that in some cases, a breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as mastectomy. Undergoing a breast reconstruction at the same time as mastectomy will give the best aesthetic results as there will be numerous highly skilled specialists working collaboratively on your procedure.

Some of the benefi­ts of an immediate reconstruction are:

  • The cosmetic results are usually better
  • More of the skin of your breast may be preserved
  • The scarring on the breast itself is usually less
  • You will only need one major anaesthetic and recovery period
  • It will involve only one stay in hospital, avoiding the stress and anxiety around returning to the hospital for a second major operation
  • You will not have to spend any time without a breast

However, before you decide on breast reconstruction, there are some important issues you should keep in mind:

  • Breast reconstruction usually requires more than one operation
  • In the right circumstances, your breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as your mastectomy
  • Breast reconstruction may be a good option for you if you do not have additional medical conditions or other illness that may impair healing.
  • In some instances, cancer treatments may be delayed post reconstruction

Breast reconstruction is a highly individual procedure and may not be suitable for everyone, however Dr Lee and his team are always more than happy to talk about your options.

Dr Lee has significant breast reconstructive surgery experience and has previously developed innovative, minimally invasive techniques for the procedure.

BRA Day is not about trying to talk people into having a reconstruction; but simply to ensure all women and their doctors to have a conversation about breast reconstruction so women undergoing a mastectomy are aware of their options.