There are many different breast reconstruction options that our surgeons perform including techniques that use your own tissue, techniques that use breast implants, and techniques that use a combination of your own tissue and a breast implant.
Our reconstructive surgeons are part of the breast cancer multidisciplinary treatment team. This team also includes physicians from general surgery, radiation oncology, radiology, and pathology. Nurses, social workers, and rehabilitation specialists, including physical therapists and occupational therapists, also work together to provide our patients comprehensive care.
If You're Considering Breast Reconstruction...
Reconstruction of a breast that has been removed due to cancer or other disease is one of the most rewarding surgical procedures available today. New medical techniques and devices have made it possible for surgeons to create a breast that can come close in form and appearance to matching a natural breast.
But bear in mind, post-mastectomy breast reconstruction is not a simple procedure. There are often many options to consider as you and your doctor explore what's best for you.
This information will give you a basic understanding of the procedure -- when it's appropriate, how it's done, and what results you can expect. It can't answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on your individual circumstances. Please be sure to ask your surgeon if there is anything you don't understand about the procedure.
Planning Your Surgery
You can begin talking about reconstruction as soon as you're diagnosed with cancer. Ideally, you'll want your breast surgeon and your plastic surgeon to work together to develop a strategy that will put you in the best possible condition for reconstruction.
After evaluating your health, your surgeon will explain which reconstructive options are most appropriate for your age, health, anatomy, tissues, and goals. Be sure to discuss your expectations frankly with your surgeon. He or she should be equally frank with you, describing your options and the risks and limitations of each. Post-mastectomy reconstruction can improve your appearance and renew your self-confidence -- but keep in mind that the desired result is improvement, not perfection.
Your surgeon should also explain the anesthesia he or she will use, the facility where the surgery will be performed, and the costs. In most cases, health insurance policies will cover most or all of the cost of post-mastectomy reconstruction. Check your policy to make sure you're covered and to see if there are any limitations on what types of reconstruction are covered.
Preparing For Your Surgery
Your oncologist and your plastic surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications.
While making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out for a few days, if needed.