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Benefits of Breast Reconstruction Sooner Than LaterUpdated October 9, 2013
Breast reconstruction can help to restore a woman’s physical and psychological well-being after mastectomy surgery to treat breast cancer. Reconstruction requires a number of different steps for rebuilding the form of the breast. Having breast reconstruction immediately after treatment can often provide better outcomes for women and a faster return to a normal life. Dr. Jewell will happily discuss your options and help facilitate the best plan of action for your personal needs.
About Breast Reconstruction
Reconstruction involves a number of steps that rebuilds the whole breast or part of the breast that may be lost through mastectomy to treat breast cancer. Several different techniques are used. Some of these procedures can begin immediately after the mastectomy. Other breast enhancement procedures can be done after cancer treatment is complete, when the woman feels more secure and is ready to take on other issues. Surgery on the opposite breast for purposes of balancing side-to-side shape and appearance is possible and covered through insurance plans due to the Women’s Health and Cancer Act of 1998. The choice of immediate or delayed reconstruction is an issue that each woman should discuss with her doctor.
Benefits of Immediate Reconstruction
If you have opted for immediate reconstruction, the surgical preparations begin at the time of the mastectomy. Deciding to have reconstruction done immediately has a number of benefits. Dr. Jewell can preserve a higher amount of breast tissue for the reconstruction. Immediate reconstruction also ensures that breast tissue is not damaged by further cancer treatments or scarring from the healing process. The implant is placed immediately after breast tissue is removed during a mastectomy, so that the loss of the breast is less emotionally traumatic. However, further surgeries are necessary to complete the reconstruction to give it as natural an appearance as possible. In some cases, grafts of skin from other parts of the body are necessary. This technique requires additional healing and the possibility of scarring on areas of the body other than the breast itself. If only one breast requires reconstruction, cosmetic surgery may also be necessary on the other breast to ensure that the two breasts properly balance each other and provide a good appearance.
Immediate reconstruction is not for every patient. Some women may require further surgeries, radiation or other treatment that may make immediate reconstruction inadvisable. Others may just simply delay the process either because they weren’t sure they wanted breast reconstruction surgery or weren’t ready to face the next step.
Breast reconstruction can interfere with healing from other procedures, so you should discuss your options in depth with Dr. Jewell before making a decision on your reconstruction surgery options.