October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and in a combined effort between the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and The Plastic Surgery Foundation, October 15th is National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day (BRA Day). Many women who have undergone a mastectomy are not fully aware of the options available to them when it comes to breast reconstruction. After surviving a disease as terrifying as breast cancer, many women wish to feel whole again and restore their appearance with natural-looking feminine breasts. To follow are some facts about breast reconstruction every breast cancer survivor should know.
- As few as 22% of women who have undergone mastectomy are aware of the quality results breast reconstruction can achieve.
- Alarmingly, only 19% of post-mastectomy breast cancer survivors fully understand that the time between mastectomy and breast reconstruction greatly impacts the success of the reconstruction.
- Nearly 90% of all women who are having mastectomy want to see what breast reconstruction results look like before the procedure.
- Less than 23% of women post-mastectomy are aware of the wide range of options available in breast reconstruction.
Options in Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction methods are broken into two main categories: immediate or delayed.
Immediate Breast Reconstruction
- The breast mound is created at the same time as the mastectomy
- This helps spare a patient the emotional distress associated with the loss of a single or both breasts
- Risks associated with anesthesia are lowered
- This procedure is performed by an oncologist and plastic surgeon, simultaneously
Delayed Breast Reconstruction
There are two main methods for delayed breast reconstruction: Implant/Expander or Autologous Tissue.
- Surgery can be performed months or years following mastectomy and the completion of cancer treatments.
- Patients are often required to wait a minimum of 6 months following radiation, to allow skin to heal before undergoing reconstruction.
Implant/Expander Delayed Breast Reconstruction
- Two separate procedures
- It is very difficult for surgeons to create two identical breasts, so some variances will remain noticeable.
- Breasts feel firm, and appear cosmetically reconstructed.
Autologous Tissue Delayed Breast Reconstruction
- Time spent under anesthesia is reduced.
- Recovery is an estimated 6-8 weeks long.
- Breasts feel soft and natural.
- Some complications and risks associated with TRAM and DIEP flap harvesting and healing.
Are You a Breast Cancer Survivor Ready to Restore Your Breasts? Let Dr. Stephens Help You.
Dr. J. Anthony Stephens is a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in breast reconstruction. To schedule a consultation contact our office in Baton Rouge at 225-767-7575 or contact us online to request more information.