Is breast reconstructive surgery for me?
Having survived breast cancer, you may be thinking whether or not to have breast reconstructive surgery. This is a surgical procedure to rebuild the shape and look of one’s breast(s) and it’s important to seek the consultation and advise of an experience plastic surgeon.
Reasons for having breast reconstructive surgery
While this is a highly personal decision, some popular reasons include wanting to have a balanced chest, particularly when it comes to wearing a swimsuit or even a bra, to permanently regain one’s breast shape without the need to rely on a breast form or to just feel better about one’s body.
It’s common for breast reconstruction surgery to leave scars but they also tend to fade with time, especially with newer techniques that reduce the amount of scarring.
How is breast reconstructive surgery done?
There are two main techniques when it comes to reconstructing your breast. You could choose to insert a breast implant, one that’s filled with saline or silicone gel.
Or you could choose an autologous or ‘flap’ reconstruction which uses tissue from another part of your body such as your belly, thigh or back to form the new breast.
You can also decide if you want to reconstruct your nipple as part of the surgery.
With either technique, there are pros and cons. With an implant, it’s generally a more straightforward procedure, and is easier for one to recover from. Overtime however, implants may be more prone to problems and may require additional procedures to correct them. Flap reconstructive surgery on the other hand is more time consuming with a longer recovery. The upside though is that if it’s done well, would not require more attentive over the course of its lifetime.
At the end of the day, the surgery is dependent on what’s best for the patient.
Breast reconstructive surgery can certainly help give one a boost in self confidence post-mastectomy but it’s important to be realistic with your expectations on how the new breast will look and feel. The reconstructed breast may not match perfectly or the areas where tissue was taken may not look the same as before. Having an open and thorough discussion with your plastic surgeon is key and will make a difference in the way you feel and heal after the procedure.