Mastectomy, removal of breast due to cancer, often leads a woman’s way to breast reconstruction. Breast reconstruction is a plastic surgery procedure that aims at rebuilding a breast using implants or the patient’s own fat.
What to consider before a breast reconstruction
Your decision to have a new breast will have long-lasting impacts on your life and on the lives of others who are related to you. A right decision will make you happy for the rest of the life. While a wrong decision may drag you to a never ending stress and depression. You must make your decision carefully. Keeping in mind following things will help you a lot.
- Your new breast may not have a same feel and sensation as your old breast
- You may need subsequent surgery to develop nipple and areola
- Breast(s) will have incision lines that may fade but, most likely, do not disappear
- Surgical technique used to take donor tissues in flap reconstruction may leave scars on the donor area
Techniques of breast reconstruction
- A breast reconstruction can be performed using the patient’s own tissues or prosthetic implants.
- Flap reconstruction in flap reconstruction surgeon takes tissues from the thighs, back, buttock or abdomen of the patient and rebuilds a breast. These tissues may have their blood supply from the new site or the old site.
- Breast implants they are widely used in breast cancer patients as well as in other women who want to have larger breasts. Silicone gel-filled and saline filled implants are used for this purpose.
An immediate reconstruction or a delayed reconstruction
Women can have an immediate reconstruction or a delayed reconstruction. In an immediate reconstruction, the new breast is rebuilt right after its removal. This method entails following characteristics:
- It will be easy for the woman to cope with the stress of losing a breast.
- Woman does not have to go through the psychological ordeal to find herself without a vital body part. When she wakes up after surgery, she has the new breast.
- Another surgery is not needed as the rebuilding is performed in the same surgery.
- Scarring will be less.
- It may force you to delay other cancer treatments like chemotherapy as it may cause a setback in your recovery process and may develop infections as well.
A delayed reconstruction employs that woman will have a new breast some time after its removal. It has following characteristics:
- Woman gets enough time to think about the surgery, the right time for it and the most important concern, she wants it or not.
- A delayed treatment will not force you to alter the timings of your other cancer treatments like chemotherapy.
- It would result in a larger scar on the breast.
- You will have to combat stress that may be caused due to the removal of breast.
You must discuss it in detail with your surgeon and he/she will help you in deciding the right time for your reconstruction surgery. You should make your decision keeping in mind the type and stage of cancer, other cancer treatments (if any) and your preferences.
Breast reconstruction is an amazing procedure that brings back your old body. While the procedure has some limitations like all other plastic surgery procedures, you may find it significantly helpful in bringing your confidence back and making you feel alive!