Immediate breast reconstruction has clear benefits for patients and the NHS
Responding to the findings of the National Mastectomy Audit, published today, which show an increase in the take up of immediate breast reconstruction, Venkat Ramakrishnan, consultant plastic surgeon and member of BAPRAS, said:
“The increase in uptake for immediate breast reconstruction demonstrates a real need and desire for this surgery by patients. It has proven medical and psychological benefits and we shouldn’t underplay the part reconstruction plays in a woman’s recovery from breast cancer. We are delighted that the number of women being given immediate breast reconstruction has increased, but there is still more to do to ensure that women are being given the best possible treatment.
“Plastic surgeons and breast surgeons have been working together to share surgical knowledge and skills. As a result, breast reconstruction can be performed by breast, plastic and oncoplastic surgeons, giving a greater number of women access to this immediate reconstruction.”
Most women have reconstructive surgery some time after their mastectomy as the final step in their recovery. However, immediate reconstruction tends to achieve better cosmetic results, including smaller scars and only one hospital stay. As well as improved patient outcomes, immediate breast reconstruction also achieves cost benefits for the NHS.
BAPRAS said that although immediate reconstruction is not appropriate for all women, there are other options available to help give women back their breasts. Plastic surgeons can advise women on their options and are able to offer state of the art reconstructions. For example, plastic surgeons use microsurgical techniques to transfer soft tissues from another part of the body in order to reconstruct a breast. In addition, research is currently being conducted into how stem cells can be used to enable surgeons to harvest a greater amount fat in order to rebuild a patient’s breast and improve the healing process.
BAPRAS encourage women to request a referral to a plastic surgeon if they have particular concerns about their body image following breast cancer surgery.
BAPRAS, the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, is the voice of plastic surgery in the UK. It aims to increase the understanding of the professional specialty and scope of plastic surgery, promoting innovation in teaching, learning and research.
Founded in 1946 (originally as the British Association of Plastic Surgeons), today BAPRAS has over 800 members and is the professional representative body for reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgeons providing services to patients on the NHS and privately in the UK.
Members of the public can find a member plastic surgeon in their area by logging on to www.bapras.org.uk. Anyone can check the GMC to find out if a surgeon is on the plastic surgery specialist register.