Giving up a part of your body can be very traumatizing. Whether you have already been diagnosed, or are at a high risk of potentially developing breast cancer, you may need or have already had, a mastectomy. No matter how out-of-hand circumstances may have seemed before, this is where you take back control of your body.
Timing of Reconstruction: Breast reconstruction surgery can be done during your mastectomy, immediately following radiation therapy, or even years later.
Immediate Reconstruction: This procedure happens during the mastectomy. This is often the most straightforward method in which the breast is reconstructed immediately after being removed.
Delayed Reconstruction: Larger cancers and cancers that have spread to lymph nodes often require chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Sometimes these treatments can cause the reconstructed breasts to attain an unwanted texture or lose volume. A delayed reconstruction procedure typically takes place 6-12 months after a mastectomy and ensures a healthy and desirable reconstruction.
Delayed-Immediate Reconstruction: This is a newer approach to reconstruction in which a temporary expander is placed underneath the chest muscle and skin immediately after the mastectomy, with the purpose of preserving the skin and shape of your breasts during any upcoming radiation therapy. Once tissues have fully recovered, the temporary expander is replaced with the complete, reconstructed breast.
There are two primary techniques for breast reconstruction: implants and flaps. Implant reconstruction refers to the silicone or saline implants used to replace the breasts. Flap reconstruction takes tissue from another part of your body (usually your stomach or thigh) and uses that to rebuild the breasts.
The benefits of breast reconstruction include:
○Improved self-confidence and sense of self
○Permanently regained breast shape
○A more balanced looking chest in bras and bathing suits
Everyone’s situation is unique and should be treated as such. With breast reconstruction surgery, reclaim your body and start feeling whole again.