Breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy is transformative. It helps a woman feel whole again, improving her appearance and restoring her self-confidence.
Breast reconstruction is a physically and emotionally rewarding procedure for women who have lost one or both breasts to cancer. In this article, we are raising awareness and looking at becoming whole again just like our patient, Angela.
Plastic Surgery Can Help
Plastic surgeons can restore the breast, creating a natural-looking breast that mirrors the shape, size, and appearance of the original one. It can also help women feel more balanced in terms of breast weight.
Yet, many women who’ve undergone a mastectomy aren’t informed of their reconstructive options, or they have a hard time getting their questions answered and their needs met.
Meet Early with a Plastic Surgeon
We recommend patients meet with a plastic surgeon early in the process to discuss all of their options, including:
- Two-stage reconstruction following mastectomy. A tissue expander is used in stage one. The permanent implant is placed in the second surgery. Sometimes immediate reconstruction with implants can be done at the same time as the mastectomy.
- Reconstruction of the breast using tissue from another location on the body done at the same time as the mastectomy or later.
- With a single mastectomy, the surgeon may reconstruct one breast alone. A breast lift, breast reduction or breast augmentation may be recommended for the opposite breast to improve symmetry of both breasts.
- Additional options exist for women who choose a lumpectomy or breast conservation option.
Patients Have a Choice
Patients make the choice to have breast reconstruction. If you or a loved one is diagnosed with breast cancer, make an appointment with a board certified plastic surgeon experienced in breast reconstruction to discuss your options. The plastic surgeon can then be part of your health care team.
Real Patients. Real Results.
Angela discussed her experiences with cancer and breast reconstruction surgery with us and shares just how important it is to be your own advocate.
Explain your journey to Breast Reconstruction:
Angela: I had breast cancer, a lumpectomy, and radiation about 10 years ago when I was in my late thirties, and it came back recently. Because I had already had radiation, my only viable option was to have both breasts removed, and I knew I wanted to have breast reconstruction. I don’t live in Wichita, and I did a lot of research and got several opinions. I also talked with family members who recommended the Plastic Surgery Center. After my first consultation I felt at peace, and I knew I had found my surgeon.
How do you feel about your results?
Angela: I’m happy because when I look down, I don’t see a 12 year old boy. I know the breasts don’t make a woman, and after having my kids, I thought I was done with them. That isn’t actually the case because for me, I needed to take care of both the mental and the physical me after living through cancer twice. My experience with the Plastic Surgery Center was totally amazing. I knew they were my answer and still feel that way.
Do you have advice for people thinking about Breast Reconstruction?
Angela: Do a lot of research. Ask as many questions as you can. There is no dumb question. You need to be your own advocate and push for what you want, especially when it comes to your breast reconstruction. Know that it hurts mentally and physically, but everything gets better with time. Don’t be afraid to be your own voice. Remember that the doctors work for you. Meet with several surgeons and make sure you feel comfortable with your choice.
Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act
This act helps women with breast cancer who choose to have their breasts reconstructed after a mastectomy. The law requires most insurance plans that pay for mastectomies to also pay for reconstruction of the removed breast, surgery, and reconstruction of the opposite breast for symmetry, prostheses, and treatment of any complications of surgery. The Affordable Care Act also has further protections stating health plans cannot limit or deny benefits relating to a pre-existing condition. Please check with your insurance company for further details.
You deserve expert guidance and exceptional results.
Plastic surgery involves many choices. The most important is selecting a surgeon you can trust. Expect exceptional results when you have your procedures performed by plastic surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and who are members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons like Dr. Ferris, Dr. Sprole, and Dr. Biskup. These specially trained doctors have at least six years of surgical training and experience, with a minimum of three years of plastic surgery.