A breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment represent a difficult path for a woman to walk. Breast reconstruction can be the finality of it all; a closing of one chapter and opening of something new. Rebuilding the breasts after cancer treatment can feel empowering, transformative, and healing. Without proper information, though, some women miss out on the physical and emotional benefits of the reconstructive process. Here, we answer some of the common questions patients have, understanding that there may be many women out there who aren’t asking them.
Does Breast Reconstruction Have To Be Done Right After Mastectomy?
It makes sense to assume that reconstruction is best done right after having a mastectomy. While it’s an option, it isn’t the only one; and it may not be the best one for every woman. Some women choose to wait for reconstruction so they can explore their options or just feel more restored before undergoing an additional procedure. Essentially, there is no hard-and-fast timeline for breast reconstruction. An experienced breast surgeon can develop the most appropriate treatment at the most suitable time.
Does Breast Reconstruction Always Involve Implants?
Because the vast majority of breast augmentation procedures include placing implants, breast reconstruction patients sometimes assume this is their only option. Due to advances in reconstructive procedures, there are additional options to choose from. Women who do not want the maintenance of breast implants and who want a completely natural result may choose an autologous reconstruction that restores shape using tissue from another part of the body.
What Happens if Breast Reconstruction Does not Achieve the Desired Outcome?
The concept of breast reconstruction becomes even more complicated if a patient thinks this procedure is irreversible. Either they live with the breasts their surgeon builds or they live with the cosmetic outcome of mastectomy. What an awful position to be in! And, fortunately, unnecessary. First, an experienced breast reconstruction surgeon has multiple ways of rebuilding the breast mound in an attractive way. Some patients may benefit from direct-to-implant reconstruction whereas others may benefit from the use of tissue expanders. Even if you’ve had breast reconstruction and would like to improve upon those results, it’s possible.
Overcoming breast cancer with appropriate treatment like mastectomy is a big deal. It’s also not the end of the story. To continue writing your new chapter through breast reconstruction, contact us at 636-535-2933. We’re happy to schedule a consultation at our St. Louis office.