Reconstruction Following Breast Removal
If you're considering breast reconstruction...
a breast that has been removed due to cancer or other disease is one of the most
rewarding surgical procedures available today. New medical techniques and
devices have made it possible for surgeons to create a breast that can come
close in form and appearance to matching a natural breast. Frequently,
breast reconstruction is possible immediately following breast removal (mastectomy), so
the patient wakes up with a breast mound already in place, having been spared
the experience of seeing herself with no breast at all.
But bear in mind, post-mastectomy breast reconstruction is not a simple
procedure. There are often many options to consider as you and your doctor
explore what's best for you.
This information will give you a basic understanding of the procedure -- when
it's appropriate, how it's done, and what results you can expect. It can't
answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on your individual
circumstances. Please be sure to ask your surgeon if there is anything you don't
understand about the procedure.
The best candidates for breast reconstruction
Most mastectomy patients are medically appropriate for
breast reconstruction, many at
the same time that the breast is removed. The best candidates, however, are
women whose cancer, as far as can be determined, seems to have been eliminated
Still, there are legitimate reasons to wait. Many women aren't comfortable
weighing all the options while they're struggling to cope with a diagnosis of
cancer. Others simply don't want to have any more surgery than is absolutely
necessary. Some patients may be advised by their surgeons to wait, particularly
if the breast is being rebuilt in a more complicated procedure using flaps of
skin and underlying tissue. Women with other health conditions, such as obesity,
high blood pressure, or smoking, may also be advised to wait.
In any case, being informed of your breast reconstruction options before surgery can
help you prepare for a mastectomy with a more positive outlook for the future.