Breast Cancer & Plastic Surgery

Dr. Nancy Van Laeken MD, FRCSC, discusses breast cancer and plastic surgery.

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Dr. Nancy Van Laeken MD, FRCSC, discusses breast cancer and plastic surgery.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Nancy Van Laeken, MD, FRCSC

Duration: 2 minutes, 15 seconds

The incidence of breast cancer are now determined to be one in eight and of these women, many of them require surgery in order to treat the tumor. 

The surgery can be a partial mastectomy, lumpectomy, or total mastectomy. For those patients who have to undergo any sort of breast disfiguring surgery in order to treat the cancer, they would like to know that they have an opportunity to have the breast reconstructed in the future.

Either reconstruction can be offered the day of the mastectomy or it can be provided for the patient in a delayed fashion after the cancer has been treated. If the patient has been diagnosed with breast cancer, they will have been referred to a breast surgeon to discuss the management of the cancer.

If the patient wishes to have further information regarding breast reconstruction, then either the general surgeon or the family doctor will refer them to a plastic surgeon who does breast reconstruction.

At that appointment, they will find out how their breasts can be made. It is normally broken up into two main types. One type of reconstruction is called autologous, meaning a portion of the patients own body is used to reconstruct the breast. The idea of that is patients have their own tissue. =It feels more like a real breast.

They do not have to worry about an implant and they usually if the reconstruction is done the day of the mastectomy will wake up with the breast having been made, with the exception of the nipple.

The other major grouping of breast reconstruction is an implant reconstruction. It can be either direct to implant the day of the operation for the mastectomy or it can be a two stage technique where they have a temporary implant put in and then a permanent implant later.

The type of reconstruction offered to patients is dependent on their age, the size of the breast that they have to have reconstructed and it also is dependent on the agilent therapies that they require.  If the patient needs chemotherapy or radiation therapy, it might alter the type of reconstruction.

Most patients should have an opportunity to discuss what their options are with the plastic surgeon, so they should be asking either the general surgeon or their family physician for a referral so that they can obtain this information.

Presenter: Dr. Nancy Van Laeken, Plastic Surgeon, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Plastic Surgeon

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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