For women in Toronto who undergo mastectomy to treat or prevent breast cancer, breast reconstruction is not always an immediate priority. But the procedure, which can be completely customized to suit each woman's needs, can help a woman to feel whole and confident during a trying time. Dr. Derek Ford is the preferred surgeon for many women who want to regain a sense of normalcy and femininity after a mastectomy (or significant lumpectomy).
Whether you're currently facing a mastectomy, or your surgery is well behind you, you can request a consultation online with Dr. Ford, or call our Toronto office at (416) 925-7337 or our Oshawa office at (905) 743-9888 to learn more about your options for surgical breast reconstruction.
Dr. Derek Ford is the preferred surgeon for many women who want to regain a sense of normalcy and femininity after a mastectomy.
Surgical breast reconstruction often proves to be psychologically therapeutic for women who have undergone mastectomy to treat or prevent breast cancer. Per Canadian law, the cost of this procedure is always fully covered by the Ministry of Health. In general, a patient may choose between reconstruction with breast implants, or reconstruction using a flap of tissue from her own body. This decision is largely dependent on the patient's own preferences, and whether or not she has enough tissue to rebuild the breast mound. Keep in mind that many breast reconstruction procedures are performed in 2 or more stages, so you may need additional surgery.
Reconstruction can be performed as an immediate procedure, or as a delayed procedure.
Immediate reconstruction is performed at the same time as mastectomy. In these cases, the patient's breast surgeon will first perform mastectomy, and then the plastic surgeon will perform reconstruction while the patient is still anesthetized.
Delayed reconstruction is performed at some point after you’ve recovered from your mastectomy.
Your breast reconstruction consultation is a wonderful opportunity to talk to Dr. Ford about your desired results. He'll carefully review your medical history and talk to you about your cancer diagnosis and treatment. During this procedure, you'll also discuss your surgical options at length. In flap reconstruction procedures, your own skin and fat is taken from another area of your body (commonly the lower abdomen or back) and transferred to your chest to create a new breast that looks and feels quite natural. This involves maintaining or restoring circulation to the transferred tissue, and also involves multiple surgical sites.
Breast reconstruction using implants is typically a less complex procedure, but it takes place in stages. Tissue expanders must be put in place to stretch the tissues and make room for a long-term implant. The expanders are gradually filled with saline over the course of several weeks. Once expansion is complete, another surgery is performed to replace the expanders with implants. The option that's best for you depends on several different factors, including your natural anatomy, so Dr. Ford helps guide you to a decision.
Prior to surgery, Dr. Ford also consults with your breast surgeon and oncologist to ensure that your breast reconstruction doesn't interfere with your treatment.
The steps of your procedure depend on the specifics of your surgery. Dr. Ford gives you more accurate details during your consultation and follow-up appointments so you may plan accordingly. In some cases, you may need to stay overnight in hospital to ensure your utmost safety. If you underwent a single mastectomy or lumpectomy, Dr. Ford may also operate on your healthy breast to ensure an attractive, symmetrical outcome.
It is fairly common for Dr. Ford to use fat grafting to refine breast reconstruction results. Fat grafting uses a gentle form of liposuction to extract donor fat from one part of your body. Dr. Ford adds this donor fat to your breasts and carefully shapes it for enhanced volume and softness.
The duration and intensity of your recuperation also depends on the specifics of your procedure, but most patients can expect to return to work and other similar activities within about 2 weeks. In the meantime, you'll need to rest at home and closely follow your doctors' instructions for caring for yourself during this important time. You'll likely be advised to avoid strenuous exercise, especially that which involves your upper body, for several weeks. However, light activity, such as short walks, is encouraged as you feel able. It's also a good idea to have a friend or family member to help you with household chores, errands, and other daily activities that you may have trouble accomplishing while you recuperate. Your discomfort will be manageable with prescribed medication, and Dr. Ford advises you on what you can expect as your body heals.
Dr. Ford usually performs nipple and areola reconstruction at least 6 months following the breast reconstruction process.Request a Consultation