Breast reconstruction, although an intervention not frequently used in Romania for financial reasons, is vital for patients who were diagnosed with cancer, but also for women who are suffering from various congenital disorders or are simply not satisfied with the result of previous cosmetic surgery.
Breast reconstruction restores self-esteem to patients, it makes them feel as women again, especially those who have survived cancer. A mastectomy that is not followed by breast reconstruction surgery causes psychological trauma. However, after such an operation, women can resume their normal life without wearing the stigma of a physical disability.
Breast reconstruction surgery can be performed either with the help of a special prosthetic or with own tissues. Although very often used, the reconstruction procedure with breast prosthetics can be done by using directly an implant or a special expander designed for tissue (tissular). This is placed under the chest muscles, it is gradually inflated with saline until the skin is sufficiently stretched and the expander can be replaced with a permanent implant.
The second reconstruction technique, with own tissues, is performed by lipofilling or free microsurgical transfer of tissues, taken from areas where they are in excess (abdomen – DIEP, buttocks – SGAP, internal thigh – TMG), in order to create a new breast. The flap is grafted in the breast area by micro surgically connecting the mammary or the armpit vessels.
In both cases, the intervention is followed by reconstruction of the areola and mammila, after the reconstructed has breast healed and stabilized in its final form and position. First the mammila is reconstructed, then the areola, through a skin graft (harvested from an area where the skin is darker) or an artistic tattoo. For the end result to be natural and harmonious, the plastic surgeon must possess both reconstructive surgery skills and thorough knowledge of cosmetic surgery.
Breast reconstruction surgery is not a whim, it is a necessity for a woman who has gone through the drama of cancer. Financial considerations should not be the criterion by which a woman takes on or not such an operation, therefore, the State is obliged to ensure that the right to a normal life is respected also for patients who underwent mastectomy.