Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer among Korean women, accounting for 15.4% of total cancer cases. Within the past five years alone, many instances signaled the evergrowing number of breast cancer cases. In 2018, there were already 23,476 reported cases of the condition. South Korea, along with Japan, had the highest incidence of breast cancer in East Asia (with 52 cases per 100,000) in 2016. As we enter a new decade, many Korean women are still affected by breast cancer.
Breast Removal Surgery in Korea
Breast cancer has been the second most prevalent cancer among women in Korea since 2004, and the numbers have gone up throughout the years. While breast cancer cases increase, so does the number of women who undergo go breast removal surgery or mastectomy. From 2014-2015, there was a noticeable change in how many patients opt for the operation, from 32.3% to 36.1%. Since then, mastectomy has become a standard procedure to treat breast cancer among Korean women.
Mastectomy, or breast removal surgery, is the process of taking out the breast tissue and nearby tissues and lymph nodes to treat breast cancer. There are many ways of breast removal being offered in Korea. The appropriate type of procedure will depend on the size and type of the tumor, the stage of cancer, and the number of lymph nodes to be removed.
Types of Breast Removal Surgery
- Simple/Total Mastectomy– removes the breast tissue, but the lymph nodes and the tissue surrounding are not removed.
- Modified Radical Mastectomy– the breast tissue along with lymph nodes in the armpit, and the tissues lining the chest muscles are removed, but chest muscle is not removed.
- Radical Mastectomy– the breast tissue, lymph nodes, muscles beneath the breast, and the surrounding fat tissue are all removed. It is rarely performed, unless for extensive tumors and if cancer has spread to the chest wall.
- Skin-Sparing Mastectomy– the tumor is removed through a small incision is around the areola, preserving the skin of the breast.
- Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy– all breast tissue is removed, except for the nipple and the skin.
- Partial Mastectomy– removes the cancerous part of the breast tissue and some normal tissue around it.
Breast Reconstruction in Korea
A survey by the Korea Breast Cancer Society, with 153 patients who underwent a mastectomy, revealed that most Korean women that had the operation experience psychological struggles regarding their body’s appearance. 71.2% stated that they feel “they are not attractive as a woman anymore.”
Korea’s National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) began covering breast reconstruction since April 2015. This resulted in an influx of patients who opt to have breast reconstruction after having breast removal surgery.
As the name suggests, breast reconstruction is the process of restoring the shape of the breast after a mastectomy. There are two standard options for this operation; it can be done using breast implants or using tissue from a donor part of your body. However, most breast reconstruction operations in Korea are implant-based.
During the operation, the breast implant is placed either behind or in front of the chest muscle (pectoral muscle). The procedure may be difficult for women whose skin around the breast is mostly removed during breast removal. Regardless, tissue expanders can be used to stretch the skin on your chest.
Implant-Based reconstruction is an ideal option for thin women who might not have enough fat in other parts of their body to support reconstruction using tissues. This process is cheaper than flap reconstruction and is a much less invasive operation, which results in less scarring and a faster healing process.
Motiva® for Breast Reconstruction in Korea
A usual concern when it comes to implant-based reconstruction is how natural it will look, as implants are commonly firmer and move less naturally. However, brands like Motiva® give you implants with the most natural look and feel. Most clinics in Korea use Motiva® Breast Implants for breast surgeries like breast augmentation and reconstruction.
The Motiva® Round Implant is made of a silicone-based elastomer shell, filled with a patented silicone gel called ProgressiveGel Plus™. The well-balanced gel elasticity and firmness gives the breasts a fuller and younger active look.
It has a SmoothSilk™/SilkSurface™, -achieved through 3D nanotechnology imprinting- which minimizes the growth and attachment of bacteria, at the same time, reducing the risk of capsular contracture and late seroma. The implant also has a TrueMonobloc® shell, allowing the implant to be easily inserted through a smaller incision (2.5cm to 3cm) due to its superior durability. This lessens the pain, bleeding, and scars during recovery.
Furthermore, Motiva® has a BluSeal® indicator, a protective layer surrounding the implants, that allows the surgeon to detect potential implant defects such as gel bleed and ruptures before implantation. Also, it has the Q Inside Safety Technology™, the first RFID microtransponder cleared by the FDA for use in humans, so you can easily get all the implant information by scanning the breasts using the QID reader.
A 6-year prospective study among patients that used Motiva® Implants shows less than 1% of cases of implant complications. Motiva® has low rates of capsular contracture, late seroma, and zero reported cases of BIA-ALCL (Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma).
Motiva® is cleared for commercial distribution in over 60 countries such as South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Japan, and more. To know more about Motiva® Breast Implant, you can visit their website.