Women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer do have choices after a recommendation is made to remove a breast. She may elect to leave the chest area as it is after surgery, choose a prosthesis (artificial breast), or choose to have breast reconstruction surgery. Because many women have feelings of self-worth tied to their physical appearance, they may choose to have breast reconstruction surgery. For many women their emotional health is put in danger when facing the loss of a breast.
This surgical procedure will restore the shape and form to your body after surgery for breast cancer. Surgical reconstruction may involve expanders, implants, and using tissue from your body. Sometimes a combination of implants and tissue expansion may be successful.
If you choose to have breast reconstruction after surgery, you will need to consult a plastic surgeon. Two or more surgeons often work together to perform the necessary procedure either during your first cancer surgery or later. Reconstruction includes reshaping the breast area and includes reconstruction of the nipple.
Tattooing gives the nipple area the look and color of your original nipple. Surgery on your other breast may be needed, even if the other breast does not have cancer cells. Reconstruction surgery may be used on the healthy breast to give it the same texture and shape as the breast that is being rebuilt.
You will want to meet with your plastic surgeon before surgery. They will work with your primary surgeon to coordinate operating room procedures. The plastic surgeon will walk you through the procedure and will have photos available of women who have had breast reconstruction surgery. You will talk about your treatment choices after surgery, whether you will have reconstruction performed at the same time of the primary surgery, or wait to have reconstruction performed later.
The plastic surgeon will provide information about where the surgery will be performed and what anesthesia will be used, and what you can expect after surgery. You will also need to check your medical insurance policy to see what reconstruction surgery is covered by insurance.
It is important to be comfortable with the surgeon who is doing your breast reconstruction. Look for a surgeon who has experience in breast reconstruction and who others have recommended. If personal recommendations are unavailable, be sure to ask for photos of women they have operated on.
Ask any the questions you can think of. It is your body, and you have the right to know what to expect from your surgery. If you dont feel comfortable with one surgeon, you may want to make an appointment with another one. It is important you have confidence in your medical team.
Your plastic surgeon will discuss the different methods used in breast reconstruction and help you decide which one is best for you. Breast reconstruction is usually done in more than one surgery. Your surgeon can tell you how many surgeries you will need and help you decide if breast reconstruction is the answer for you.