Summary: A majority of women who undergo a mastectomy due to breast cancer are good candidates for breast reconstruction surgery, yet less than 1 in 4 women are taking advantage of it. It is important that you understand your options and have more awareness when it comes to your reconstruction choices.
You’re a Survivor
If you are undergoing a mastectomy because of breast cancer, or have already had the surgery, hat’s off! You are a brave woman and you are taking your life into your own hands. That is admirable, but the confidence doesn’t need to stop there- you have options after your surgery which can make you can look as beautiful and shapely as you did before. Women in this traumatic situation focus mainly on survival, but after the mastectomy is performed, you have every right to consider cosmetics. Looking and feeling great is an important part of getting your life back to where it was, and you have every right to a beautiful life. It has been reported that only 1 in 4 women who undergo a mastectomy follow up with a breast reconstruction procedure. This may be because of a lack of information/knowledge of the options available to them.
- Many women who opt for breast reconstruction surgery do choose implants for one or both breasts. This is the way that doctors will have the best chance at achieving symmetry and your desired size. (It has been reported that 20% of women who have undergone a double mastectomy didn’t even know that this was an option.)
- “Fat transfer” is a newer way doctors are able to fill out the breast, and many believe this provides the most “natural” looking results. By removing fat from another area of the body via liposuction, the then purified fat can be re-injected back into the body around the breast to fill it out and make the area symmetrical.
- Skin grafting can take tissue from the abdomen to reconstruct the breast area. This will give you a smooth and natural texture using skin from your own body. There are downsides, however: many women do not like the way their stomach looks after the grafting process.
- Non-surgically you always have the option of prosthetics, but many women do not like the temporary “fake” feeling of these and that is why it is important to understand your surgical options. You have permanent ways of reconstructing your breasts.
Believing in Yourself is Key
It is important to believe that it isn’t “vain” or “superficial” to consider your life after your surgery. You will want to feel sexy and whole again, and reconstruction can help with that. Understanding your procedure will help you to make the best choice for you, and your doctor should explain everything thoroughly. Make it clear that you are interested in what your choices are for after your operation, and don’t be afraid to take matters into your own hands and request to see a specialist for a one on one consultation. If you are looking for permanent results, implants and fat transfer are viable options. It will come down to your desired shape, size and feel- in addition to the condition your chest is in after your surgery. There isn’t one answer for every situation, but there is definitely a way for you to feel confident and beautiful and it starts with reconstruction!
We suggest visiting Milwaukee Plastic Surgery and Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon Dr. Mark Bosbous for more on breast reconstruction.