The goal of breast reconstruction is to restore one or both breasts to near normal shape, appearance, symmetry and size following a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Most women undergoing mastectomy choose breast reconstruction, as it is a realistic option for restoring their breast and body image.
The breast reconstruction process takes several weeks to months to complete and may encompass more than one procedure. These treatments can be performed in several stages, starting at the time of mastectomy and continuing thereafter.
Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer often feel overwhelmed and bombarded with far too much information to process. It is important that breast reconstruction is planned at the same time as cancer treatment. While not all women are candidates for immediate reconstruction (performed at the same time as the mastectomy or lumpectomy), most are - and should be fully informed about all the relevant facts before undergoing a mastectomy or lumpectomy.
There are many emotional, psychological, and physical benefits of reconstructive breast surgery. Studies have shown that women who have breast reconstruction after cancer experience an increase in feelings of self-worth and confidence. Women who have had breast reconstruction surgery report they have restored feelings of femininity and self-esteem.
Breast reconstruction restores the appearance and symmetry of both breasts. This allows women to regain the ability to wear some clothing that they would not have been able to before such as swimsuits, gowns, tank tops, and other revealing clothing.
A discussion about the various options is an important aspect of your overall treatment. To assist you, we have outlined the various types of breast reconstructive procedures . This information should help guide you make an informed decision. Dr. Tanna is dedicated to helping his patients come to the right decision and can help you with your personal questions and concerns.
One of the most important and personal decisions during a patient's consultation with her plastic surgeon is choosing the type of breast reconstruction she will undergo. Once a woman has chosen to have a mastectomy, the discussion of breast cancer reconstruction naturally follows. There is no one option that is the "right" choice for every woman. Instead, we encourage you to understand the advantages and limitations of each option.
An immediate breast reconstruction will take place in the same surgery as the mastectomy. Both the breast surgeon and plastic surgeon will operate during your surgery to remove the breast and reconstruct the breast with either an implant or a flap (created from your own tissue).
The benefit of having immediate reconstruction is the psychological and emotional advantage of having a breast structure restored immediately after the breast is removed. This is also appealing because reconstruction starts right away, often resulting in fewer surgeries. While immediate reconstruction has become increasingly popular, not all women are candidates for an immediate reconstruction. Your team of physicians will consult and make the decision about whether you will be a successful candidate.
Patients may delay a breast reconstruction procedure for months – or even years – after undergoing a mastectomy. Some patients need more time to think about the decision, while others may have extensive risk factors making immediate reconstruction impractical.
In other cases, patients have extensive cancers that require chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy delivered immediately after the mastectomy. By delaying reconstruction, the treatment team is ensuring that the patient will receive the chemotherapy or radiation therapy in a timely fashion.
In general, breast reconstruction falls into two categories - implant reconstruction or reconstruction with the use of your own tissue, referred to as a "flap" or microsurgical breast reconstruction. Some of the factors to consider in planning reconstruction include the type of mastectomy, your personal preference, and your body type.
Many patients have researched different reconstructive options before a first consultation with Dr. Tanna. It is important that you are aware that it is not uncommon for a breast surgeon to be less familiar with the latest surgical techniques or to be "dated" in their understanding of breast reconstruction techniques. Seeking information over the internet can be confusing, as many sources may not be accurate. With the help of the educational material we provide, along with the support of your family and personal guidance from our plastic surgeon, you are able to act as an advocate for your own health and get the clear, accurate information you need to make an informed decision about your health and body.
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