After your mastectomy due to breast cancer, you may choose to wear external breast forms or pads, or you may choose to not alter your appearance at all. Some women have breast reconstruction, using either breast implants or their own tissue.
Many women believe that breast reconstruction not only improves physical appearance, but has psychological benefits, as well. It’s thought to promote a sense of wellness for the woman and her family.
The decision, however, is a personal one.
Is Breast Reconstruction Considered Cosmetic Surgery?
Improvements in plastic surgery techniques offer better results today than ever before and make breast reconstruction an option for most women facing a mastectomy.
According to the Women’s Health Care Act restoring the breast through breast reconstruction is not considered cosmetic surgery. Operations performed to restore anatomy and symmetry, like breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, is considered reconstructive surgery. Since breast reconstruction after mastectomy is part of the treatment of a disease and not cosmetic surgery, health insurance companies usually cover most of the cost of the procedure. Contact your insurance carrier about your coverage for breast reconstruction.
The Best Time to Have Breast Reconstruction
Timing of breast reconstruction is based on the woman’s desires, other medical conditions, and breast cancer treatment. Whenever possible, Dr. Rotatori encourages women to begin breast reconstruction at the same time they are having their mastectomy. For many women, immediate reconstruction reduces the trauma of having a breast removed, as well as the expense and discomfort of undergoing two major operations.
It is also important to know that while breast reconstruction rebuilds the shape of the breast, it doesn’t restore sensation to the breast or the nipple. Over time, the skin over the reconstructed breast can become more sensitive to touch, but it won’t be exactly the same as it was before surgery.
Moving Forward With Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction is available if you have had a simple mastectomy, total mastectomy or subcutaneous mastectomy and are missing both breast tissue and some skin or if you have had a modified radical mastectomy and are missing breast tissue. Reconstruction with an expander is usually not appropriate for women who have had a radical mastectomy.
When you have your consultation with Dr. Rotatori, he will determine whether expansion or some other type of breast reconstruction will be the most favorable in your particular case. He and his staff will walk you through all of the reconstructive options when going through this difficult time in your life.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Breast reconstruction will provide the patient with a breast that looks as normal as possible. A good result allows the patient to look normal in clothes or a bra and reasonably normal without clothes. This procedure restores a more complete body image and a more positive self-image.
If you’d like to learn more about breast reconstruction after mastectomy due to breast cancer contact the caring team at Dr. Rotatori’s Orlando area office or make an appointment with Dr. Rotatori personally too see if breast reconstruction may be the right choice for you.