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Breast Reconstruction Sunshine Coast

Breast reconstruction surgery is designed to construct a new, natural-looking breast. The procedure aims to create a breast shape and size that looks natural and is symmetrical to the remaining breast. Plastic surgeon Dr Grant Fraser-Kirk offers this procedure to women who have had a mastectomy, whether due to breast cancer or as a preventative measure. Breast reconstruction can transform the lives of women who have felt a loss of confidence and comfort in their own skin.

Dr Fraser-Kirk will tailor the procedure based on your situation and goals so that you can attain a more ideal upper-body proportion.

Dr Grant Fraser-Kirk

Plastic surgeon Dr Fraser-Kirk

is an expert in DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Artery Perforator) flap reconstruction, with over 400 DIEPs performed in total and 40 per year. He takes an empathetic, understanding, patient-centred approach, with the drive to empower patients to feel heard and be involved in their surgical journey.

Procedure benefits

Breast reconstruction can be a life-changing surgery, helping women attain a natural breast shape that complements their figure. The procedure aims to replace breast tissue that has been lost due to mastectomy and help women feel more feminine and confident. Restoring either one or both breasts can have aesthetic as well as functional benefits. For example, uneven breasts can cause back pain and shoulder pain and can make it difficult to find bras and clothes that fit properly. Breast reconstruction restores balance to the body and offers women more convenience and day-to-day comfort.

In discussion with their surgeon, patients can tailor their procedure to achieve the results they are looking for. In many cases, the procedure involves using tissue from the patient’s own body, such as skin and fat tissue. For others, it can involve the use of other materials such as implants. The procedure can:

  • Reconstruct the breast to match the other breast as closely as possible
  • Enhance a balanced body proportion
  • Create a pair of breasts that look and feel natural
  • Give women more daily comfort when wearing bras
  • Restore a positive body image and self-esteem
  • Provide dramatic, permanent results

The goal is to restore the look of a natural breast, helping women look and feel more comfortable and confident.

Candidate for breast reconstruction

Surgeons perform this surgery for women who have had a mastectomy, which refers to the removal of one or both breasts. Women may need a mastectomy either to treat cancer or as a prevention treatment. In either case, losing one or both breasts can be a traumatic experience and can make women feel less like themselves. Moving forward, you can decide on an option that works best for you. Women often opt for breast reconstruction surgery, as this provides lasting and drastic results. Ideal patients for the surgery are women who are:

  • Healthy, with no health risks that could impede the surgery or healing process
  • Do not take medications that thin your blood, such as Aspirin
  • At a stable and healthy weight, as this reduces risks
  • Non-smoking, since smoking adversely affects the body’s ability to heal
  • Realistic about the results they expect from surgery

If this sounds like you, you may be a good candidate. To help you decide whether this is the right option for you, a discussion with a trained surgeon will help outline your options.

What can I expect following my surgery?

Some light bleeding through your dressings is normal and should only last a couple of days.
If a breast becomes swollen, tense or painful please contact Dr Fraser-Kirk.

When you come home from surgery you will have a compression garment in place with some absorbent combine pads in place.
There may be two drains, one from each breast. The drains will remain in place until less than 20ml is collected in a 24hr period.
All dressings are to remain in place and dry until your post-operative appointment.

You should rest. Sleep supported by pillows for 7 days post-operatively. you will leave the hospital with white compression stockings on your legs; these will stay on for 3 days to help maintain circulation and prevent blood clots.
No driving for 7 to 10 days. 6 weeks of rest with no heavy lifting is required.

Light walking can be resumed 2 weeks after surgery. No strenuous exercise for at least 6 weeks.

Pain relief will be prescribed to you to assist with the discomfort. If you run out of these, Panadol and Ibuprofen should be sufficient. It is common to experience some bloating and constipation following your surgery – if required, use coloxyl and Senna.
Aspirin should be avoided.

Once your surgical dressings have been removed, taping of the scars is recommended.
Micropore tape can be used to tape the wound for up to three months post-operatively.
Taping the wound prevents stretching of the scar and promotes scar maturity. Micropore can be purchased from most pharmacies and will need to be changed once weekly. You can get this wet, pat dry after showering.
Please notify Dr Fraser-Kirk if your scar appears lumpy, red or raised. A more suitable dressing may be required.

If you experience pain, widespread redness or offensive discharge from your surgical site please contact Dr Fraser-Kirk. These symptoms can indicate infection and may require antibiotics.

Your breast reconstruction consultation

During your first appointment, Dr Fraser-Kirk will assess your condition and consider your personal needs in order to select the right treatment approach. For example, when discussing the details of your desired procedure, we will need to consider your:

  • Age and body type
  • General health
  • Available body tissue
  • The size and shape of your other breast

We will need to know about your health and the details of your past surgery in order to begin planning the appropriate treatment. You will be welcome to share your concerns and desired results, and Dr Fraser-Kirk will aim to tailor the procedure to your preferences. During this meeting, you will also discuss a surgical plan and the potential need for radiotherapy treatment. If you have further questions, you can ask these during your consultation to ensure you are informed and know what to expect.

Types of breast reconstruction procedures

There are a few methods for breast reconstruction, which you will discuss during your first appointment. Your surgeon will use precise techniques suited to your case in order to achieve your desired result. While some techniques involve using tissue from the patient’s own body, others involve using implants to achieve the desired effect.

In order to construct the breast, Dr Fraser-Kirk can perform the following procedures:

Flap reconstruction

The flap method involves taking tissue from elsewhere on the body and using it to create a new breast. The tissue donor site will depend on which flap method you require. The different flap techniques include:

  • DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforators) Flap: Dr Fraser-Kirk is highly experienced in performing this type of procedure. Itinvolves taking only fat, blood vessels, and skin from the abdomen, without the
  • Latissimus Dorsalis Pedicled Flap: This type of flap procedure involves moving an oval section of fat, muscle, blood vessels, as well asskin from the upper back to the chest. The tissue is moved under the arm using a tunnel beneath the skin.
  • Diagonal Upper Gracilis (DUG) Free Flap: This method involves taking fat, blood vessels, and skin from the inner thighand moving the tissue to the breast area.
  • Profunda Artery Perforator Flap: In this method, the tissue donor site is the upper inner thigh.
  • Anterolateral Thigh Free Flap: This method involves using the outer thigh as a donor site. The surgeon removesthe skin, fat, and fascia to make a flap as a singular piece of donor tissue.

Fat Graft Reconstruction

Fat grafting involves moving fat from one region of the body to another via liposuction. The surgeon loosens and removes fat from the selected donor site and injects the fat into the chest area to shape a new breast. Before injecting, the surgeon processes the fat tissue into a liquid form for ease of injection. This option is generally best for patients who wish to achieve a smaller breast size.

Prepectoral Implant-Based Reconstruction

Although we can use other areas of the body as donor sites to create a new breast, we can also use implants to form the new breast shape. Implants can be either silicone or saline and teardrop or round, depending on the patient and which look they wish to achieve.

As well as this, different placement techniques can achieve a different effect. Dr Fraser-Kirk performs implant surgery with a subglandular implant placement, which means he places the implants above the muscle. The procedure is usually performed in two stages. The first involves placing a tissue expander into the chest and filling the area with saline in order to create space for the implant. Then, we can remove the tissue expander and place the chosen type of implant.

The potential need for multiple procedures

In order to achieve the desired result, some patients may need to have more than one procedure. This will depend on your situation, anatomy, and goals. For example, in the case that patients require tissue expanders and implants, this will require more than one surgery. Dr Fraser-Kirk will be able to assess your features and needs to determine if you may need several procedures.

Restoring the nipple and areola

Surgeons can use various methods to create an areola and nipple on the breast. These methods can include a skin flap, autologous graft, or medical tattooing. Selecting the right nipple and areola restoring method will depend on the condition, shape, and features of your new breast tissue, as well as your desired results.

What can I expect following my breast reconstruction surgery?

It is common for patients to be tired and sore after their surgery. You may have some light bleeding through your dressings, but this is not a cause for concern and should only last a couple of days. Before you go home from surgery, your surgeon will bandage your wounds and may prescribe pain relief to help you manage discomfort. You may also have drainage tubes in your incisions to prevent fluid build-up.

Your surgeon will send you home with advice on how to care for your surgical site and begin your at-home recovery. This may include advice such as:

  • Wear a support garment for several weeks to help your newly-formed breasts settle and heal
  • Keep your dressings in place until your post-op appointment
  • Keep drains in your incisions for a 24-hour period
  • Rest with your head supported on extra pillows for seven days
  • Do not drive for at least seven days, and reduce all physical activity
  • Eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated
  • Do not smoke, as this can inhibit your body’s healing response
  • Avoid heavy lifting and exercise for at least six weeks
  • Consult your surgeon if you notice any concerning side effects

It is important to give your body enough time to rest and heal from surgery. Although recovery times can vary, you can expect to be able to resume light walking after two weeks. Your prescribed pain relief will assist with any discomfort, and if you run out of these, Panadol and Ibuprofen should be suitable. You should avoid Aspirin, as this can thin your blood and hinder your body’s healing.

Once your surgeon has advised that it is okay to remove your dressings, he may suggest that you tape the scars for a further three months. Taping the wound protects the skin, prevents it from stretching, and helps your scar to mature. You can purchase micropore tape from most pharmacies. Dr Fraser-Kirk will provide more advice after your surgery and during your post-op appointment/s.

Mild side effects are normal. However, severe or lasting adverse effects may require further treatment. This means if you notice widespread redness, pain, or offensive discharge from your surgical site you should contact Dr Fraser-Kirk. He will ensure you get the right treatment for your symptoms.

Breast reconstruction cost on the Sunshine Coast

Since every patient has different needs and goals for breast reconstruction, the costs can also vary. The pricing will depend on the details of the procedure, such as the type and extent of the surgery and whether you need more than one procedure. We will also need to factor in anaesthesia fees, surgeon’s fees, and hospital fees. As well as this, patients who have chosen to construct their breasts with implants will need to consider the cost of their implants.

Due to the variable nature of these factors, we will be able to outline costs once we have gathered more information about your needs and goals.

Medicare rebate for a breast reconstruction procedure

Subject to certain criteria, Medicare provides rebates for surgeries that are deemed required for health reasons. This means women who are having a breast reconstruction procedure after a mastectomy may be able to receive a Medicare rebate. In many cases, Medicare will cover your costs if you are using a public facility, and a portion of your costs if you are using a private facility.

To receive a Medicare rebate, you will need a referral from your General Practitioner or a specialist. Dr Fraser-Kirk can answer any further questions during your first appointment.

Risks and complications

The potential risks and complications of breast reconstruction surgery will depend on the type of procedure that you require. Mild side effects such as pain and swelling are common and should go away on their own with the proper care. However, more severe symptoms may require further treatment. These risks can include issues such as:

  • Ongoing swelling and bruising
  • Bleedingor infection
  • Fluid build-up
  • Anaesthesia reactions
  • Haematoma
  • Partial or complete loss of the flap (in the case of flap surgery)
  • Change insensation at the tissue donor site (in the case of flap surgery)
  • Capsular contracture (in the case of implants)
  • Movement of the tissue expander or implant (in the case of implants)
  • Asymmetry or unwanted results
  • Damage tothe breast caused by radiotherapy
  • Further surgery or treatments

During your at-home recovery, you should pay attention to your symptoms and take note of any adverse symptoms. Notify us if you experience any of the following:

  • Severe or lasting pain that you cannot relieve with painkillers
  • Heavy bleeding from the incision site thatyou cannot easily control
  • Chills or a feverabove 38 degrees celsius
  • Offensive discharge or redness around the incision site that is spreading

You should be sure to follow your surgeon’s care advice during your recovery in order to reduce these risks and help you have a smooth recovery. This includes refraining from smoking and physical movement. In the case that you notice severe side effects, it is important to seek advice from Dr Fraser-Kirk, as he will be able to guide you based on your symptoms.

How to choose the best breast reconstruction surgeon on the Sunshine Coast

Mastectomy can cause women a great amount of emotional distress. When planning a path forward, it is important to speak to someone who can understand your needs and advise treatment options specific to your case. Dr Fraser-Kirk is a highly skilled plastic surgeon who will guide you through the process and help you decide on a treatment path that helps you feel more confident in your body. If you decide to go ahead with breast reconstruction, Dr Fraser-Kirk will help you achieve a great outcome.

Having breast reconstruction surgery is a personal decision that requires a lot of thought and research. Dr Fraser-Kirk takes a patient-focused approach, empowering patients to attain their goals and improve their body image.


How soon after a mastectomy can I have breast reconstruction?

Surgeons can perform breast reconstruction procedure can be either straight after a mastectomy or afterwards. The right time to have your procedure will depend on your situation, body, and desires for surgery.

Why should I have a breast reconstruction consultation with Dr Grant Fraser-Kirk?

We will assess your needs and goals during your first meeting with us. Dr Fraser-Kirk will outline pre and post-op instructions, the procedure details, and costs, allowing you to feel prepared for your breast reconstruction surgery.

What results can I expect?

Once your body heals, you can expect to have more balanced breasts that resemble the look of natural breasts. However, patients should keep in mind that they may not have the same feeling in their reconstructed breast as a natural breast.

Will I have scars?

Although your scars will fade over time, they will never fully go away. If your surgery involved taking tissue from a different part of your body, you may also have scarring on the donor site. Your surgeon will aim to place them in discreet areas.

When can I resume my normal activities?

You can resume normal activities at a gradual pace while your body heals. However, it’s important that you give your body enough rest time and avoid all strenuous movement for six weeks.