For many women, breasts symbolise femininity, motherhood and sexual attractiveness. Losing part or all of a breast may affect a woman’s body image or confidence. Before or after a mastectomy, you may think about having a breast reconstruction. Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure used to create a permanent breast using your own tissue and skin, and/or an implant. It can be done or started at the time of the mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) or at a later stage (delayed reconstruction). This can be months or years later. We discuss the pros and cons of having a breast reconstruction and when the best time for you to do this might be.
Dr Catherine Boorer
Dr Catherine Boorer is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon based in Macquarie St, Sydney. One of only a handful of fully qualified female plastic surgeons in Sydney, she specialises in cosmetic surgery for adults and reconstructive surgery for both adults and children. In addition to her private practice she remains committed to the public hospital system with clinical and teaching roles at four major public teaching hospitals in NSW.
Dr Boorer is married with three energetic young sons. When away from work she keeps herself happily busy with her family and interests which include travelling, walking, reading and cooking.
Dr Boorer studied medicine at the University of Newcastle, NSW and completed her internship and residency at the John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle. She then went on to complete 8 years of surgical training, comprising four years of specialty training in General Surgery and a further four years of specialty training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
After gaining her specialist qualifications as a Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgeon from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Dr Boorer went on to complete a postgraduate Clinical Fellowship in Paediatric Plastic Surgery at the internationally renowned Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. Upon her return from Canada, Dr Boorer was appointed as a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon to the Prince of Wales and Sydney Children’s Hospitals in Randwick. More recently, she was appointed as a Reconstructive Breast Surgeon to the Royal Women’s Hospital, Randwick. She has also maintained her connection with the John Hunter Hospital through her appointment as a visiting Paediatric Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon.
Yvonne Hughes is the author of One Piece of Advice: Words to guide you through early breast cancer. One Piece of Advice was written after Yvonne began treatment for breast cancer. She started writing the book to capture the generosity of those who had tips to pass on, and to help others going through treatment. Five years later, Yvonne is still passionate about helping others through the journey. Yvonne has written articles about breast cancer and survivorship for several Australian publications, and continues to be involved with Cancer Council NSW.
Gill Neil is a breast care nurse at The Royal Hospital for Women (RHW). She works as part of a multidisciplinary team involved in breast care management and also works closely with the breast and plastic surgeons. She provides assistance before, during and after breast cancer treatment. Gill became a registered nurse in 1995 in Edinburgh, Scotland. She came to Australia in 2002 for travel (and some work) and ended up never going home! After completing postgraduate qualifications at La Trobe University 10 years ago, she started breast care nursing and has been the breast care nurse at the RHW for the last 8 years. She is also involved in the organisation and running of a monthly public breast reconstruction clinic at RHW and the complex management of the public reconstruction theatre lists.