Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day works to inform women of their options following a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Every woman should know the options she is legally entitled to. Even if reconstruction is delayed, federal law mandates coverage of breast reconstruction for all. Less than a quarter of women know the range of breast reconstruction options available, only 22 percent know the quality of outcomes they should expect, and just 19 percent understand how much the timing of their treatment and decision impacts their options and results.
Immediate vs. Delayed
Reconstruction can occur immediately at the time of the mastectomy or delayed, at a later time. If and when you decide to have breast reconstruction is completely up to you. Depending on the characteristics and stage of your breast cancer, the decision may change. Immediate is shown to be a safe option for most. For many women, this can help with body image after undergoing a mastectomy, as well as reduce the number of anesthetics required and usually provides a better aesthetic outcome. For immediate reconstruction, you must ask your breast surgeon to make a referral for you to see a plastic surgeon.
On the other hand, some women may not want to think about reconstruction right away. Also, this option is sometimes necessary for women who need further radiation treatment. Delayed reconstruction usually requires a waiting period of six to nine months in order to complete radiation therapy and allow the chest skin to heal.
Types of Breast Reconstruction
There are three main types of breast reconstruction. The first, reconstruction using implants, uses a silicone or saline implant to recreate the breast. Autologous reconstruction uses tissue from another part of your body to rebuild the breast mound. Lastly, autologous tissue with implant, which combines the two.
How It Works
With a combination of plastic surgery techniques, it is now possible for surgeons to create a breast that is similar in form and appearance to a natural breast. The two-stage reconstruction, may be recommended to you by your surgeon. This technique places tissue expanders under the skin to expand the skin over several months. Once the skin has stretched enough, the implants are placed during a second procedure. A tissue expander is not needed is the breast implant is placed immediately following the mastectomy.
"The benefits of breast reconstruction extend from the practical, in terms of ease of clothing fitting and physical balance, to the psychological, including aspects of self-esteem, social acceptance and a mental sense of completeness,” explains Dr. Regina Nouhan of Monarch Plastic Surgery. “As plastic surgeons, we have the privilege of utilizing our extensive training, surgical skills, and artistic creativity to help a breast cancer patient bridge the passage to recovery, and discover a new resilient self at the completion of this journey. And, the beautiful thing is, our patients often inspire us, along the way."
To schedule a consultation for breast reconstruction, visit http://bit.ly/mpsconsult today.