The goal of breast reconstruction is to provide symmetry, and to match, as closely as possible, the appearance and feel of a natural breast.
Breast reconstruction surgery is an option for nearly every woman who has had partial or complete mastectomies for cancer or other reasons, but at the least, every woman should be informed of this option. If you are thinking about having reconstructive surgery, it is a good idea to talk about it with your surgeon and a plastic surgeon experienced in breast reconstruction before your mastectomy. This lets the surgical teams plan the treatment that is best for you, even if you decide to wait and have reconstructive surgery later.
According to a recent report, although there has been a steady increase in the amount of breast reconstructive procedures performed annually, nearly 70% of women who are eligible for reconstruction are not informed of the reconstructive options available to them. Statistics reported by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) shows that >79,000 breast reconstruction procedures were performed in 2008 alone – a 39% increase from the previous year. Unbelievably, current research shows that most breast cancer patients are not even involved in a key discussion that should take place at the time of their initial diagnosis.
Women who choose to undergo breast reconstruction report improved self-esteem, self-confidence, femininity, comfort, and wholeness with their bodies. Your plastic & reconstructive surgeon should personalize your consultation to provide an informed discussion about the procedures that they offer and assist you in determining which procedure would be the most suitable for you. Be sure to discuss the best timing and type of reconstruction for you, taking into account your cancer type, tumor size, nodal involvement, the need for pre/postoperative chemotherapy or radiation therapy, your overall medical health and comorbidities, along with your own personal preferences. The discussion should involve you in the decision-making process, as the final reconstruction will ultimately become part of you.
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