Nothing is more demoralizing than getting diagnosed with breast cancer and having to go through surgery to treat it. The feelings that accompany this diagnosis and this kind of treatment can be worrisome, depressing, and overwhelming. Not only can the surgery and the healing process be very painful, but they can make many women feel like they have lost a part of their identity. This is why many women choose to undergo breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. We understand that making this decision is not easy, which is why we are here to tell you everything you should know about breast reconstruction.
Things you Need to Consider
One of the most important things to consider before getting a breast reduction is the stage of the treatment that you are in. Typically, if you haven’t had a mastectomy yet, you have more options. For instance, some surgeons can recommend that you get a One-Stage Breast Reconstruction. This means that you can get your mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgeries done at the same time, instead of having to go through the trouble of undergoing surgery twice.
Though the options can differ from one case to another, it is recommended that you consult a breast reduction specialist before you schedule your mastectomy. This way, you can have a better idea of all the options that are available to you. If you have already done a mastectomy before, you can still have various breast reconstruction options to choose from.
How to Make the Decision
Throughout your journey with breast cancer, you will encounter many situations in which you have to make difficult decisions. You must do what you feel is right for you and avoid the things that make you feel forced and are unnecessary. This is exactly what makes most decisions very overburdening, especially when there are so many things to consider and so many options to choose from. You should always consider your mental and emotional health and how the mastectomy affected or will affect your body image and identity. It’s also important to put your physical health as a priority since healing from cancer is not easy. Think about whether you will be able to handle a breast reconstruction surgery while resuming your radiation treatments and if you are willing to extend your recovery process.
Will it be uncomfortable for you to have to consult with several doctors, make various appointments, and complete several steps in your breast reconstruction surgery to achieve satisfactory results? Check your insurance plan and discuss with your insurance company if they would be willing to cover your breast reconstruction surgery. Also, the timing of your surgery is something that you should keep in mind. Are you hoping to get immediate breast reconstruction or are you planning on postponing it? Make sure that you discuss all of your concerns with your surgeon and come up with a decision that you feel comfortable with.
Immediate Breast Reconstruction
Having breast reconstruction right after a mastectomy can be advantageous because you may potentially have more breast tissue at the time to support reconstruction. This is because there is no prior surgery scarring or radiation damage in the area – unless you have already received treatment. As explained in this article, this option saves a lot of time, and it is generally less painful and uncomfortable. It also speeds up the recovery process and leaves the patient with minimal to no scarring. Besides, if you get a One-Stage Breast Reconstruction, you will not have to experience drastic physical changes once you leave the operating room.
Delayed Breast Reconstruction
If you decide to delay your breast reconstruction surgery, this can redirect your focus to your cancer treatment. It will also give you more time to explore your breast reconstruction options and get more research done. The only disadvantages of this option are going through another surgery again and coping up with the physical changes once more.
Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgery
One of the types of breast reconstruction surgery uses implants to reshape the breasts, and there are two types of this procedure: direct to implant and tissue expander to implant.
Another type of breast reconstruction surgery uses tissue from your buttocks, thighs, back, or abdomen to rebuild the breast, resulting in two scars. Flaps can either be used on their own to reconstruct the breast or accompanied with an implant to achieve a desired shape or size.
Breast cancer diagnosis and treatment can be very mentally and physically draining, and women have to make many overwhelming decisions in their breast cancer journey. One of these decisions is having breast reconstruction surgery. Hopefully, and this guide can help you understand the most important things that you should know about the procedure so you can make an informed decision.