Breast Cancer

Immediate Breast Reconstruction

What is immediate breast reconstruction?

  • Aiming for cure, eradicating disease and long term safety are the top priorities in breast reconstruction. Dr Cheung has recently reported her medium term results at the Leura Breast Conference.
  • Dr Cheung is a strong advocate for immediate breast reconstruction because she understands that minimising the physical impact of surgery can immensely improve how a woman copes with her cancer treatment.
  • The surgery is conducted under general anaesthetic in hospital and generally involves a 1-3 day stay.
  •  Additionally, during the operation some lymph nodes in the axilla (armpit) will be removed and tested (sentinel lymph node biopsy) to check if cancer cells have metastasised (spread to lymph nodes) or will be removed if cancer cells are detected.
  • Dr Cheung also performs lipofilling or fat grafting during immediate reconstruction if required. This is a procedure used to reshape your breasts by modifying the shape, increasing the volume and profile of your breasts through the transfer of fat cells from one part of your body to another.
  • Breast reconstruction using lipofilling can improve defects, symmetry, volume and refine the  breast soft tissue. Many women say this means they can wake up with breasts  and not feel as if they have “lost their womanhood” after cancer surgery. Find out more here. 


What do patients need to know about immediate breast reconstruction?

  • The national rate of immediate breast reconstruction surgeries is currently 12%
  • However, when given the option 95% of patients choose immediate breast reconstruction
  • Recent statistical data of medium and long term results for immediate breast reconstruction shows it is safe with no adverse impact on survival rates
  • “Sacrifice the breast and worry about reconstruction later” is generally not helpful particularly if the patient has early breast cancer, with good prognosis, and if the patient’s body image is important to them.


Who is suitable for immediate breast reconstruction?

  • There are instances where immediate breast reconstruction surgery may be delayed due to radiation therapy or a high-risk situation, but Dr Cheung will advise on the most appropriate treatment for your situation, prior to surgery.
  • Generally there is quick recovery, where admission for full or partial mastectomy and reconstruction only requires admission into hospital for 1-3 nights depending on the fitness of the patient.
  • Dr Cheung performs several other breast reconstruction techniques using advanced technologies and will let you know which is best suited to your situation. 
  • Every patient is assessed to provide a tailored, personalised holistic treatment plan, taking into account their condition, body shape, physical fitness and other factors.

What happens during the surgery? 

  • It is performed in a manner as to provide the best possible cosmetic outcome, as breast cancer surgery can have a powerful impact on a woman’s relationship with her body and her sense of femininity.
  • The surgery is conducted under general anaesthetic in hospital as a day procedure.

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