Breast cancer is a diagnosis that no woman should have to receive. However, these two words affect roughly one in eight women, and after a year of grueling treatments and emotional stress, many women are forced to make a difficult decision. While breast reconstruction after mastectomy or lumpectomy can prove to be an incredibly rewarding procedure, the decision to get there is often extremely difficult.
Treatment, whether chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery, is not only taxing on the body, it also takes a toll on a woman’s emotional state. Breast cancer attacks, and in many cases removes, what has always been a symbol of femininity. After treatment, it is common for women to feel as though they have lost a part of their confidence and self-esteem. Breast reconstruction can help women regain their femininity, confidence, and selves after what is likely one of the most trying experiences of their lives. Choosing to undergo surgery can be a symbol of conquering the disease and taking back their lives.
When Is the Best Time to Begin Reconstruction?
Although some women choose to wait until after their treatment has finished before undergoing breast reconstruction, many begin the process at the same time as the mastectomy. This timing comes with many benefits. Not only is it one less day of surgery, there is an added emotional benefit. By undergoing the reconstruction process in conjunction with a mastectomy, the patient can avoid the distress of seeing herself without her breast, as the mound will already be set in place. During your consultation, Dr. Mabourakh will discuss all of your options to ensure your comfort and well-being.
What Are Your Options?
Although there are many different options available for breast reconstruction, not all of them will be right for you. It is important to sit down with both your oncologist and your reconstruction surgeon to determine the right course for your individual needs.
Skin Expansion and Implants
The most common reconstruction technique involves combining skin expansion with an implant. In this procedure, the surgeon inserts a balloon type expander beneath the skin, and a saltwater solution is gradually added to fill the expander over the following weeks or months. This solution allows the skin to stretch and ready itself for the final implant.
An alternative to an implant is flap reconstruction. Here, tissue is relocated from another part of the body to the chest to create a breast mound. This type of surgery is more extensive than an implant and will likely come with a longer recovery time; however, this technique can result in a more natural-looking breast.
Although this is a procedure that no woman wishes to need, breast reconstruction can provide a wealth of emotional benefits for those who have fought cancer. For more information or to set up a consultation, call Dr. Mabourakh today at our Folsom office at (916) 984-8585 or our Stockton office at (209) 464-5656. You may also fill out our online contact form.