This surgery involves using a breast implant, or tissue from the body, to build a mound that resembles a breast that was removed.
Breast cancer is most commonly treated with either a lumpectomy or mastectomy.
A mastectomy refers to the removal of the entire breast.
Breast reconstruction uses either:
Some patients are suitable candidates for either procedure. Other patients have anatomy that favors one type of reconstruction over the other.
A breast reconstruction after the removal of a breast is a personal choice and an optional one.
Breast reconstruction is an option for women who want to restore the appearance of the breast after a mastectomy. Immediate breast reconstruction surgery means that the surgeon will begin to rebuild the breast right after the breast tissue is removed.
Delayed breast reconstruction surgery means waiting to begin rebuilding the breast.
It is best to speak with a plastic surgeon before your breast-sparing surgery or mastectomy. He or she can help you understand your options and what your breasts might look like after surgery. To get a full range of opinions and perspectives, you may want to consider input from a variety of healthcare providers, including:
Some states and insurance policies define coverage for breast reconstruction. This may include time limits on coverage of second and third reconstructive procedures.
If your healthcare provider recommends a breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, prior to surgery tell them about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before and after the surgery. These include:
If you are a smoker, you should quit smoking because it can interfere with your recovery. If you smoke, many plastic surgeons will not perform a breast reconstruction using your own tissue.
During your surgery, you will receive anesthesia to keep you comfortable and pain free.
It is important to remember that the total cost of this care path does not include all possible medications, lab work or imaging studies. Those charges can add up. If your healthcare provider recommends any lab work or imaging studies, you may need to search for their costs separately.
What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a breast reconstruction?
It is a good idea to have a spouse, friend, or relative accompany you to consultation visits, in order to be a note-taker for you.
Do not forget to arrange for transportation to and from the facility and for help at home.
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