According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, over 220,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. While breast cancer is still one of the leading causes of death among women, great strides in treatment options and breast cancer awareness have been made recently to increase the patient survival rate.
An integral part of the healing process for many breast cancer patients is reconstruction surgery. Reconstruction of one or both breasts following mastectomy or lumpectomy can help restore positive body image, confidence and quality of life following breast cancer. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Carlos Chacon takes a look at the treatment options.
Breast Reconstruction Options
Women can choose to have breast reconstruction performed at the same time as their mastectomy or lumpectomy or some time after the procedure. Many women prefer reconstructing their breasts at the same time as their mastectomy or lumpectomy because it decreases their overall number of surgeries. In the second option, delayed reconstruction can be performed months or years after the woman’s mastectomy. Delayed reconstruction may be appropriate if the patient anticipates additional cancer procedures and/or treatments.
Thanks to the latest advances in surgical technology, women have several options when it comes to reconstructing their breasts. Plastic surgeons can reconstruct one or both of the breasts using implants, the patient’s own body fat and tissue, or a combination of the three.
A common concern breast reconstruction patients have is the effect their surgery will have on chemotherapy. In most cases, reconstruction surgery does not significantly delay chemotherapy treatments. However, complications such as wound healing or infections can delay chemotherapy. Chemotherapy treatments typically begin once a woman has recovered and healed from mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. Additionally, there are risks and possible complications that come with breast reconstruction surgery, which the plastic surgeon will discuss with the patient during the initial consultation.
It’s Your Choice
Most women who have undergone mastectomy are candidates for breast reconstruction. However, breast reconstruction is an elective procedure, meaning that the decision to pursue the procedure is optional. For many women, the breasts are an important part of their femininity. Breast reconstruction can help restore self-confidence and relieve some of the psychological pain following breast cancer.
Choosing when and if to undergo breast reconstruction surgery is a personal decision. If you are considering breast reconstruction surgery, Dr. Chacon can meet with you to discuss your options. He will carefully analyze your medical history as well as your current breast size and shape, and will listen to your aesthetic concerns and goals to make the best recommendation for breast reconstruction.
To learn more about the procedure, schedule an appointment with Dr. Chacon today. Please call Divino Plastic Surgery at (858) 633-7546.