PINK OCTOBER AT LUCIA CLINIC – MORE THAN JUST A MONTH

October is a month of Breast Cancer Awareness where patients share their stories, address the stigma of this disease and engage the public. Pink October is also a month of learning about how to continue with your life after breast cancer and getting support for having breast reconstruction surgery.

For women who already had or will have a mastectomy because they’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer or are at risk of developing it, breast reconstructive surgery is one of the options for rebuilding their lost breast or breasts and helping them feel at least a little good about themselves again.

It’s not easy to accept that you gave up a part of your body that makes you feel like a woman. It’s normal to feel sad or anxious about it because your breasts make you look good in clothes or how you feed your babies. Nobody can deprive you of those memories. But now, you can move forward and decide what you want to do next and if breast reconstruction surgery is the right for you.

There are many questions that spring to your mind the moment you decide to have breast reconstruction surgery – Will it make me feel whole again? Where do I find the best surgeon? Will I need to recover for a long time? What kind of surgeries are there? And so on. Let’s try to answer some of those questions and bring this type of surgery closer to you.

Getting a breast rebuilt is just your choice. People around you should support the decision you make about it. This surgery may help you feel emotionally and physically like yourself again, but it’s essential to consider all the aspects before you actually have it. All the reasons you have when considering breast reconstruction are only yours. You may choose to have this surgery to balance your breasts while wearing a swimsuit or bra. Another reason could be making your clothes fit better. Also, you might decide on breast rebuild because you don’t want to wear an external breast prosthesis and you want to permanently return your breast or breasts to their previous shape. In the end, you may decide to have this surgery because of one simple reason – you want to feel good about your body again. Even though breast reconstruction leaves scars on your breast, they should fade with time. Numerous new techniques lower the number of scars. After reconstruction surgery, your breasts will be symmetrical again, and help you feel good and attractive in your clothes.

There are two main techniques of breast reconstruction -breast implants and autologous or flap reconstruction. Sometimes they can be used together.

Breast implants are made of silicone gel and come in different shapes and sizes. There are new generations of implants that are of the highest quality, which means that you don’t need to replace them every ten years. If you are not experiencing any problems with them, they can last forever. Breast reconstruction with implants is somewhat easier to perform, and recovery is faster. Your plastic surgeon may place the implant on top of your chest muscle or beneath it. This decision is made after the mastectomy because the surgeon can see how much breast skin has remained and if it is thick enough to hold the implant. If not, the implant can’t be placed on the top of the muscle. On the other hand, if a lot of chest muscle or tissue was removed, then placing the implant under the muscle may not be a good choice. In any case, your plastic surgeon will find the best solution for you, because every woman is different and is in a different situation.

Autologous or flap reconstruction is another technique for breast reconstruction. The surgeon takes tissue from a donor area like your abdomen, thighs or back and transfers it to your breasts. This technique is perhaps more difficult to perform but in the long run, it can be a good option. A skilled surgeon can perform this surgery like an artist – you won’t have to deal with it again because it can last forever. The condition to have this technique performed for breast reconstruction is that you have enough tissue in your donor sites that can be transferred into your breasts. Since this is an entirely natural approach where your own tissue is used, some of that tissue can get reabsorbed by your body. Therefore, the surgeon may have to transfer more tissue than necessary to avoid this. Even though this technique tends to leave more scars on your body, it has been improved to avoid this side effect as much as possible. The surgeon can use advanced liposuction techniques like Tumescent lipo, which is done with just local anesthesia and is much gentler to your skin during tissue extraction.

Next to the technique used for breast reconstruction, you can also consider when this surgery is done. It again depends on your specific situation and what is regarded as the best for you. Your surgeon can perform breast reconstruction at the same time as mastectomy surgery. This is called immediate reconstruction. If this time works well for you, you can have both surgeries simultaneously and wake up with a reconstructed breast or breasts. Here it’s essential that your plastic surgeon and breast cancer surgeon work closely together to perform both surgeries properly. But if you need treatments like radiation or chemotherapy after mastectomy, then this approach may not be the best. Of course, your priority then would be to complete all the necessary treatments first before you can start considering breast reconstruction. As we already mentioned, each situation is different, and it is vital that you and your plastic surgeon are on the same page about the time of your breast rebuild surgery. If it’s better to do breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy and all the treatments, then we talk about delayed reconstruction. It can be performed 6 to 12 months after all the treatments and after your tissue has healed. It can also be done years after the mastectomy, so you don’t have to hurry with it. Once again, it is essential that you consult with your plastic surgeon and decide which option will work best in your case.

The last phase in your breast reconstruction surgery can be nipple and areola rebuild. Here it’s all about your choice, whether you want nipple reconstruction or not. Sometimes, the nipple can be spared during mastectomy and left in its original place. But usually, the nipple is also removed with the rest of the breast during mastectomy. If you decide to have the nipple and areola reconstruction, this surgery will be performed separately. This surgery makes the rebuilt breast look like the original one. You can have this surgery after a couple of months when your newly rebuilt breast has healed. A skillful plastic surgeon can do wonders with this surgery. Your newly reconstructed nipple and areola can almost perfectly match the size, position, texture, projection, and shape of your natural nipple. The surgeon uses the tissue from the reconstructed breast or skin from another area of your body. You can even match the color of your natural nipple and areola with tattooing, which you can get a couple of months after nipple reconstruction.

Another critical question before deciding to have breast reconstruction surgery is how to find the right plastic surgeon. We can tell you right away that Dr. Josipovic, the head of the plastic surgery ward at Lucia Clinic, is the plastic surgeon you are looking for. He is a certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon who falls in the category of being the  “right” surgeon. He specialized in female breast reconstruction surgery. Apart from being an expert, he is open to meeting and consulting you about every little detail of this type of surgery. He understands that you have many questions and concerns about your breast rebuilt and is happy to answer them. Meeting with Dr. Josipovic is your chance to speak openly, feel as if you are being heard, and get an honest response. Open communication with your plastic surgeon is crucial here – it’s the key to bringing you satisfying results. Even though Dr. Josipovic resides in Dubai, this shouldn’t worry you about traveling here. Many female patients come to Lucia Clinic from different countries because of Dr. Josipovic’s expertise and artistry. This extra effort you invest will be worth a lot later – getting your breast reconstructed the way you want makes a big difference.

During breast awareness month, we must also mention men and their chest issues. Even though breast reconstruction is usually reserved for female patients, a lot of men have problems with gynecomastia and in some rare cases, breast cancer. Dr. Alessandro Caielli is a certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon specializing in gynecomastia surgery and male chest reconstruction. Dr. Caielli is an experienced surgeon whose openness and friendly nature help his male patients to feel more than welcome. There maybe a huge stigma about male breast reduction, but actually, it shouldn’t be so – men deserve to feel confident about their upper body appearance. And meeting with Dr. Caielli brings that confidence closer to men. After having a consultation with this brilliant plastic surgeon, male patients get a customized treatment plan that specifically addresses their concerns about gynecomastia surgery. When Dr. Caielli answers all his male patients’ questions, they realize that having this type of surgery is not taboo. On the contrary, it greatly improves their quality of life.

  In the end, we all understand that when you decide to have breast reconstruction or gynecomastia surgery, the most important thing you need is support– support from your family, friends, and of course, your doctors. When having these surgeries at Lucia Clinic, plastic surgeons and the rest of the team will go the extra mile in helping you feel comfortable and provide you with the best possible care. This singles Lucia Clinic out – each patient is considered as an individual with individual concerns and medical conditions. You are more than welcome at Lucia Clinic.