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Breast Reconstruction

Almost all types of breast reconstruction require multiple stages and techniques that attempt to rebuild a breast to near-normal shape, size, and appearance after mastectomy. These stages are coordinated along with the cancer team. Click below to learn more about breast reconstruction.

What is Breast Reconstruction?

Almost all types of breast reconstruction require multiple stages and techniques that attempt to rebuild a breast to near-normal shape, size, and appearance after mastectomy. These stages are coordinated along with the cancer team.

You should know that even though breast reconstruction can restore your breast, the results are variable:

  • Incision lines will always be on the breast. These are from mastectomy and sometimes reconstruction techniques
  • Even though a reconstructed breast looks similar, it will not have the exact same sensation and feel as the breast it replaces
  • Some techniques/stages will leave incision lines in places where tissue is borrowed (back, low abdomen, etc.)

Although a reconstructed breast may never match the look or feel or your natural breast, this area of reconstructive surgery continues to improve

Does Breast Reconstruction Really Matter?

  • If you are a woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, then you are thinking about survival AND quality of life: you are thinking about both being cured of breast cancer AND your self-esteem as a woman
  • Being cancer-free is certainly the more important of these two concerns. But, breast reconstruction is also an important part of the healing process
  • Multiple national studies have shown that breast reconstruction after breast cancer can help create a sense of wholeness as a woman
  • Because you are MUCH more than a diagnosis, reconstruction can be an important part of the healing process as a whole

How Do I Know if I am a Good Candidate?

You are a good candidate for breast reconstruction if, after you meet with the breast surgeon and plastic surgeon, you…

  • Have a positive outlook
  • Have realistic goals for restoring your breast and body image
  • Are able to cope well with your diagnosis and treatment plan
  • Do not have other medical conditions that impair healing

Do I Have Options?

After a mastectomy (removal of entire breast), patients have a variety of options for breast reconstruction, which can sometimes be confusing. The breast can be reconstructed using…

Each type of reconstruction has advantages and drawbacks. Therefore, if you are considering breast reconstruction, it is important that you meet with a plastic surgeon early in the treatment-planning process to discuss these options 

How Do I Choose The Type of Breast Reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction can be performed using:

There is no one “best” reconstruction method. There are pros and cons to each procedure. Some procedures require a longer recovery, even though they may lead to a more natural feel and look. Also, not all patients are candidates for all types of procedures, given your medical history, body shape, and body type. Even though this decision seems overwhelming, your plastic surgeon can help you choose the best option for you and your goals. All types require multiple steps, although follow-up procedures usually do not require a hospital stay.

Should I Even Do It?

If you decide to have breast reconstruction, you should do it for yourself:

  • You should not be sweet-talked or swayed into it because someone else wants you to do it
  • You should want it for yourself—your own self-esteem and wholeness as a woman—and to help complete the “healing” process
  • Plenty of women have gone through breast cancer without reconstruction and still feel healed and whole
  • Even though we believe breast reconstruction to be a great thing, this is YOUR CHOICE

When Does Breast Reconstruction Start?

It can start at the same time as the mastectomy, or delayed until you heal from the mastectomy and other cancer treatments (chemotherapy and/or radiation)

  • If it begins at the same time as mastectomy, then we will coordinate for plastic surgery to begin at the same time as your mastectomy operation

What About My Other Breast?

If one breast has cancer, you should meet with your breast cancer surgeon to discuss the risk and options for the opposite (unaffected) breast. When one breast is treated, that breast can be reconstructed with the appropriate method discussed with your plastic surgeon. To improve how even the breasts look, you may choose to have a procedure on the opposite breast. Procedures on the opposite breast may include…

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