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Happy BRA Day!

October 17, 2012

Image Courtesy of BRA Day USA
Most women, 70 percent, are not aware of the breast reconstruction options available following a mastectomy. The decision to get a complete mastectomy is both challenging and emotional. But, there are reconstruction options that can help mastectomy patients feel whole again.

Are There Different Types of Breast Reconstruction?

There are multiple options available to women post mastectomy. The three main breast reconstruction options are breast augmentation with implants, fat grafting, or a procedure that combines both augmentation using an implant along with fat grafting. Read on for a complete list of breast reconstruction techniques

How Do I Select a Reconstruction Technique?

A surgeon will first examine the breast tissue and discuss the patient’s goal to ultimately recommend the best option. Breast size and shape, percent of tissue remove, and the amount of available donor tissue are all factors you and your surgeon will consider.

When Can Reconstruction Take Place?

Reconstruction can either take place immediately or months to years after the mastectomy. Immediate reconstruction is a safe surgical method that is shown to be highly beneficial to a woman’s self-esteem. Immediate breast reconstruction doesn’t delay cancer treatment and has low risks and complications. Immediate reconstruction can also have improved cosmetic outcomes, a shorter recovery time, and decreased costs. Undergoing reconstruction right away is also an important coping mechanism associated with improved quality of life and a reduced risk of depression

Delayed reconstruction can be performed several months or even years after the cancer treatment or mastectomy takes place. After radiation therapy, most doctors suggest a patient should wait 6-9 months to allow for the chest skin to heal before surgery.

How Safe Is Breast Reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction is a safe surgery with a low occurrence of side effects. However, there are always risks involved when undergoing surgery. The possible risks associated with breast reconstruction include: bleeding, infection, poor healing of incisions and anesthesia risks.

What Will My Recovery Be Like?

It is standard during recovery to wear loose-fitting clothing so that fabrics are not pressing against your sensative chest area. Cherie Matthews, breast cancer survivor, has created the healincomfort® post-op recovery shirt. This shirt is both loose-fitting and accomodates your draining tubes and limited arm movement after a mastectomy. 

How Will My Reconstructed Breast Look and Feel?

With reconstruction, there is a possibility of loss of sensitivity, along with obvious visual changes. There will be scaring and the potential for post-surgery asymmetry.

Although there may be some negatives that come with reconstruction, the benefits are immeasurable. Because the size and shape has changed, your breast will look and feel different. You clothes and bras will fit differently, too. But, even with adjusting to your new shape, studies have show that women who undergo reconstruction feel more feminine. Regaining this femininity and wholeness has shown to help women with breast cancer start to re-build.

How Much will Reconstruction Cost?

The price of reconstructive surgery will vary based on the specific doctor, geographic location of the practice and level of insurance coverage. The Federal Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 enacted important insurance coverage guarantees for women with breast cancer who want to undergo reconstruction after mastectomy. Learn more about WHCRA.

Where will My Surgery Be Performed?

Most commonly, surgery for breast reconstruction will be preformed in a hospital setting. Your doctor will most likely use general anesthesia; therefore, you should expect a short hospital stay. Follow-up procedures may take place on an outpatient basis, in which anesthesia and sedation are again a possibility. 



ImplantInfo Featured Practices

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (OK) Breast Augmentation by
Mike E. Gonce, M.D.
Dr. Mike Gonce Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Valdosta, Georgia (GA) Breast Augmentation by
Sonya J. Merriman, M.D.
Dr. Sonya Merriman Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Rochester , New York (NY) Breast Augmentation by
The Plastic Surgery Group of Rochester
Dr. Timothy O'Connor, Dr. Ralph Pennino, Dr. Mark Davenport , Dr. Jeffrey Fink , Dr. Andrew Smith , Dr. Brian Kubiak Board Certified Plastic Surgeons
Cristine Meredith Miele Foundation

Please help ImplantInfo support breast cancer research through the Cristine Meredith Miele Foundation, set up in loving memory of Cristine “Crissy” Miele. Crissy was a loving wife and mother and dedicated member of the ImplantInfo family who lost her battle with breast cancer in July 2010.

Your donations support Dr. Kenneth Offit and his research team. They are focusing genetic testing on families, like Crissy’s, where breast cancer is hereditary and develops from a yet unidentified gene mutation. Advances can improve early detection and help future generations, including Crissy’s daughters.

No donation is too small, and your support means the world. Please help us continue Crissy’s courageous fight.

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