To Reconstruct Or Not To Reconstruct? That Is The Mastectomy Question

Many women who go through breast cancer treatments get either single or double mastectomies to remove the breast tissue and rid themselves of their cancer. While the decision to have the mastectomy can oftentimes be an easy one because it can rid you of your cancer cells, the choice of whether to go through a breast reconstruction procedure is not always as straightforward. There are many factors to consider when making the decision about breast reconstruction. Get to know more about a few of these factors so that you can make the right decision for yourself following your mastectomy.

You Do Not Have To Rush Into Anything

There is a common misconception among patients that they have to decide whether or not to reconstruct their breasts when they are having their mastectomies performed. While it is an option to have your reconstruction done at the same time as your mastectomy, reconstructive surgeons can also perform a delayed breast reconstruction.

In fact, if you are in need of radiation therapy as well as the mastectomy surgery, it is a better idea to wait until after all of your treatments are complete before you go through the reconstruction surgery. Having a reconstruction done at the same time as your mastectomy can be convenient in that you get everything done all at once. However, you do not have to rush if you are not ready or still need some time to think things over.

There Are Different Types of Reconstructions

Sometimes, women are hesitant about going through the breast reconstruction process because they are afraid or worried that their new breasts will feel fake and artificial. There are so many jokes in mainstream culture about women who have gotten breast implants that are hard or fake feeling and looking.

However, the procedures have advanced a great deal over time. Breast reconstructions generally fall into two categories, implants and natural tissue reconstructions. Implants are similar to breast augmentation procedures in that the surgeon will place either a silicone or saline pouch in your body to create the breast. Of course, the difference is that in a reconstruction these silicone or saline implants will replace rather than augment the breast tissue. Silicone implants are quite similar in look and feel to natural breasts.

On the other hand, you could opt for a natural tissue reconstruction. This procedure uses tissue from elsewhere in your body to build and recreate the breasts. Your reconstructive surgeon will take a flap of your skin and fat cells from an area of your body such as the stomach, thighs, or buttocks to create all-natural breasts. Because you are using your own tissues for reconstruction, you will have a much lower risk of infection or other complications. Additionally, if you gain or lose weight or your body changes in other ways over the years, your breasts will do so as well because the tissue is natural. Recovery time and surgery time for natural breast reconstruction are a bit higher because it is a more complex procedure as well.

For more information, contact a reconstructive surgeon in your area.