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Truths You Need to Know About Breast Reconstruction

Breast cancer affects upwards of one-in-eight women in the United States, and it does so in some of the most obvious and difficult ways. While many cancers are hidden from plain view, breast cancer can sometimes manifest in the removal of an integral part of what makes a woman a woman. Fortunately, the physical and emotional scars associated with a mastectomy can be somewhat mitigated by breast reconstruction.

Breast cancer patient in hospital gown holds up an illustration of round breasts in front of her body as she contemplates the truths of breast reconstruction

Over the years, breast reconstruction has become safer and more effective than ever before. It is also more aesthetically pleasing than ever has been. The result allows many women to move past the effects of cancer more quickly and completely. However, there are several misconceptions and myths about breast reconstruction surgery that can alternately delay this life-changing surgery or make a woman question whether reconstruction is right for them. In this article we discuss a few of those myths and tell you why you should ignore them.

Myth #1. You need to wait for breast reconstruction

This is simply untrue, and for many women with stage 1 or 2 breast cancer, waiting may not lead to ideal aesthetic results. The fact is that breast reconstruction performed at the same time as the mastectomy can offer the best cosmetic results. Immediate reconstruction can reduce scarring and maintain more natural skin. From a psychological standpoint, patients leave the hospital with their new breasts, never experiencing their absence in the same way. This is not to mention that the entire procedure is performed in a single surgical stint, reducing stress on the patient and her body.

Myth #2. Your only option is a breast implant

Many women agonize over the fact that they will have breast implants as part of their reconstructive surgery. Unfortunately, they do not realize that there is a natural option available to them. Perforator flaps used during breast reconstruction are the latest in technology and technique that allows us to use the patient’s own tissue from other areas of the body to recreate natural looking and feeling breast tissue. This reconstruction technique also mitigates some issues associated with breast implants that may occur years down the road. Tissue is harvested from the stomach, thigh, or buttocks to create the more natural breast replacement.

Myth #3. You can’t have a breast reconstruction after radiation

Patients who undergo radiation are not necessarily precluded from having a breast reconstruction. It is true that there is a high risk of complications when using breast implants after radiation for breast cancer. Using the flap procedure detailed above after radiation can offer excellent results. However, this is one time where delaying surgery is inevitable. Patients will have to wait until their course of radiation is complete before they can start the reconstruction.

Myth #4. Your breasts will look disfigured after a reconstruction

With advances in surgical technology and technique, the possibilities of having natural looking breasts after reconstruction have never been higher or more attainable. However, the aesthetic of the breasts is largely based on the skill of the surgeon you employ. Dr. Szymanski has the experience to recreate the breasts in a way that both look and feel more natural.

Before jumping to conclusions about your breast reconstruction options, give Dr. S a call. You may be surprised to know that the myths of breast surgeries past may no longer be an issue today. We look forward to scheduling a consultation with you.

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