“The most alluring thing a woman can have is confidence.” – Beyoncé
Pathologist, imaging, tests, chemotherapy, mammogram, genetic mutation, biomarker, surgery, lymph nodes, mastectomy, breast reconstruction. When you are newly diagnosed with breast cancer it can be overwhelming and these words can become part of your vocabulary and endless searches online and conversations with your physician to learn more.
If your physician recommends a mastectomy it is likely you have discussed options for breast reconstruction. Breast reconstruction can be done several months or even years after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Breast reconstruction is a personal choice and your views might completely change on your journey. Here are some common questions you might ask yourself to get you thinking about the choice you have to make.
- How important is the process of rebuilding your breasts to you?
- How do you feel about a breast form you can take off and put back on?
- Will breast reconstruction help you feel whole again and more feminine?
- How do you feel about undergoing additional surgeries after your mastectomy or lumpectomy?
Types of Reconstruction:
There are different types of techniques available when it comes to breast reconstruction and your healthcare providers will be able to go over your options and discuss the right option for you. While you trust your healthcare provider to steer you in the right direction it is important to research your options on your own so you are comfortable with your decision. Studies from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons have found that more than 70% of women aren’t fully informed about their reconstructive options before mastectomy. Here are two common techniques for breast reconstruction.
- Implant reconstruction: Inserting an implant that’s filled with saline (saltwater) or silicone gel.
- Autologous or “flap” reconstruction: Using tissue transplanted from another part of your body (such as your belly, thigh, or back). Autologous reconstruction also may include an implant.
Choosing other options
Roughly 44-percent of women choose not to have reconstruction. Many women cannot bear the thought of undergoing additional surgeries after a mastectomy and choose other options such as prosthesis, delayed reconstruction (6-12 months after initial surgery) or choosing to ‘go flat’. The decision is personal to you and you and there is no “right way” when it comes to your healing process.
It is important to know what to expect as far as appearance when it comes to choosing to forgo reconstruction surgery. Oftentimes it is helpful to view photographs of real results from patients so you have a good idea of what the end-results can look like.
Pink Ribbons Mastectomy and Lymphedema Boutique will strive to assist each woman who comes through our doors to regain or maintain her self-esteem and good body image that was altered during and after her breast cancer treatment. For information about our Post-Op care, please visit our website or give us a call today at 901-417-6060.