Understand What is Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure to recreate the breast after one has undergone breast removal due to cancer. The reconstruction may not restore the full function of a normal breast, but it gives women a sense of feeling feminine once again, enhance their self-confidence and self-esteem, and also increase their quality of life. This breast reconstructive surgery allows one to feel complete as a woman.
What are the options for breast reconstruction?
There are various options available, such as:
Using breast silicone implants – This procedure is usually done in the first stage if there is sufficient skin, or it can be done as a second-stage reconstruction. After the mastectomy, a tissue expander is placed and filled to a desired volume to stretch the skin pocket. The tissue expander is then stretched over a few times before it is ready for the second stage of reconstruction.
Using own body tissue – In some cases, it is possible for one to undergo a tissue flap procedure. It can be from the patient’s own body tissue from the abdomen, which is the TRAM flap, or the latissimus dorsi flap, taking the tissue from the back.
Using fat from own body – We can also harvest fat from various body areas to graft to the breast for reconstruction.
Does breast reconstruction also include the nipple?
It depends on the complexity of the case. In a nipple-areola-sparing mastectomy, these structures are preserved. If the nipple and the areola are removed during the mastectomy surgery, it’s possible to reconstruct the nipple at the last stage after the completion of the breast reconstruction.
How do I know I am suitable for breast reconstruction?
There are choices for an immediate breast reconstruction or a delayed/later breast reconstruction. The choice depends on your medical condition and the surgical plans discussed with your breast surgeon.
Can medical insurance cover breast reconstruction?
If your surgery of mastectomy or lumpectomy is covered by medical insurance, your reconstruction surgery should be covered by medical insurance as well. Check with your insurance company about your coverage.
Is this considered cosmetic surgery?
Breast reconstruction is considered a reconstructive surgery and not a cosmetic procedure. Of course, the goal of the procedure is to reconstruct a breast with a nice cosmetic result.
What else do I need to know about breast reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is a surgery best performed on patients with a high chance of being cured of breast cancer. We will not do any breast reconstruction without the clearance and green light of the oncologist.