A World-Class Breast Surgeon in Oregon
Learn why Dr. Jewell is the best choice for your breast surgery.Learn More
Facing breast cancer and the disfigurement it bears is heartbreaking for many women. Breast reconstruction following breast cancer surgery can be physically and emotionally rewarding for women. Reconstruction of a breast that has been partially or completely removed is possible through a combination of plastic surgery techniques. Breast reconstruction in Eugene, Oregon, following a mastectomy involves a number of procedures that are performed in multiple stages. Having an experienced plastic surgeon such as Dr. Mark Jewell involved in your case prior to a mastectomy is beneficial. Reconstruction can be performed immediately after the cancer operation or delayed; the timing of your reconstruction depends upon the cancer treatments recommended for you and your choice to pursue your options for reconstruction.
Begin with a Plan
The process and options can be daunting. You can begin to organize your thoughts on breast reconstruction with the helping of this informative planning guide. Developed by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, you can click the graphic to download and save your copy.
What does breast reconstruction do?
Breast reconstruction attempts to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance and size following a mastectomy. As there are so many different options for breast reconstruction Dr. Jewell invites you to come in and discuss what might be the appropriate plan of reconstruction for you.
Know Your Rights
Under the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998, health insurance plans that offer mastectomy coverage must also provide coverage for reconstructive surgery after mastectomy. Not covering breast reconstruction is like not offering a prosthesis to someone who has lost a limb. This coverage includes reconstruction of the breast removed by mastectomy, reconstruction of the other breast to produce a symmetrical appearance, breast prostheses, and treatment of physical complications at all stages of the mastectomy.
According to the 2016 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. today. This number includes many women who may be candidates for delayed breast reconstruction or revisions of prior reconstruction. Other statistics include:
- Less than 50% of women who require mastectomy are offered breast reconstruction surgery.
- Only 23% know the wide range of reconstruction options available.
- Fewer than 20% of women choose to undergo immediate reconstruction (at the time of their mastectomy).
When should I have breast reconstruction?
Immediate reconstruction has been shown to be a safe option for many women. Women interested in beginning reconstruction at the time of mastectomy must ask their breast cancer surgeon to make a referral to see a plastic surgeon. In plastic surgery, our goal is to identify the options available and to help you make an informed decision.
What are my reconstruction options?
There are many advances in reconstructive surgery and techniques, and the treatment of breast cancer. If possible, Dr. Jewell will ensure you know all of your breast reconstruction options before your cancer is treated and removed. His goal is to to give you the best options for a fulfilling life beyond breast cancer.
Breast reconstruction is not a one-size-fits-all procedure. The type of reconstruction you undergo will be decided by you and Dr. Jewell depending on your specific needs, anatomy, cosmetic goals, and previous treatments. The four basic techniques are:
- Implant reconstruction after tissue expansion
- Flap reconstruction with the patient’s own tissue
- Combination flap and implant reconstruction
- Nipple sparing mastectomy
How does implant reconstruction with an expander work?
Some women who are in the process of breast cancer survival might be looking for procedures that are less invasive flap reconstruction and require the least amount of recovery and downtime. Expanders may be a good option. The expander is placed beneath the chest muscle and is gradually filled with sterile saline solution over many weeks, creating enough healthy tissue to cover the reconstructed breast mound. The tissue expander is then replaced with a breast implant that is shaped and feels like a breast. After a few months, Dr. Jewell can reconstruct a nipple; tattooing can be done to color the areola. Dr. Jewell also performs surgery on the opposite breast, if necessary, to help it match the size of the reconstructed breast.
What about flap reconstruction?
Flap reconstruction can be done; however, there are many pros and cons that are based on your body type, breast cancer surgery and subsequent breast cancer treatments. This type of decision is best explained on an individual basis of breast cancer care.
What can I do to ensure the best outcome?
Overall health and personal outlook can greatly impact the outcome of reconstructive surgery. Honestly share your expectations and fully disclose your health history, medications, usage of vitamins and herbal supplements. Breast reconstruction is for non-smokers or those who are nicotine free for a minimum of 3 months. It is important that you and your caregiver plan to stay in the Eugene, Oregon, area for the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery.
A “team approach” between breast surgeon, oncologist, and plastic surgeon is integral to the success of cancer treatment. Knowing the options early enhances a woman’s journey through her cancer recovery, signifying a return to self and a sense of feeling whole again.