Cancer is that word no one ever wants to hear. The talk, the speculation, the fear and confusion, the statistics become all too much, but it is reality. One of the most common types is breast cancer. Breast cancer happens to be the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after skin cancer. About 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. After being diagnosed with breast cancer and going through the rigors of treatment, women have many options to explore, one of which is reconstructive surgery.
There are many reasons why women would choose to undergo reconstructive surgery. Reconstruction means, “To repair or to make anew.” To rebuild, but not necessarily as the original, or as new. Reconstructive surgery can not only remove the fear of having cancer, but can return both form and function to the body, and most importantly provide hope to those who are healing both physically and psychologically. In other words, the creation of a long-lasting, symmetrical, and beautiful breast may help restore confidence, femininity, and self-esteem in women following breast cancer treatment.
There are two ways to treat breast cancer. One method involves trying to conserve the breast by just removing the tumor, and then applying radiation to kill remaining cancer cells. The other treatment involves removing the entire breast, what’s known as a mastectomy.
A new study has found that in the past 10 years, the majority of women in the United States whom have been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, and who were eligible for lumpectomy, go on to choose mastectomy or double mastectomy followed by reconstructive surgery. This has dramatically increased over time, and it is proven that breast reconstruction has been making a big impact on quality of life for breast cancer survivors.
Due to the option and availability of this procedure, we are seeing more women survive breast cancer. A substantial increase in breast reconstruction procedures over time is good news for women with breast cancer, and reflects positively on cancer care in the United States. Simply, reconstructive surgery is a way for women to heal their soul, and recover after going down such a rough road with something as deadly and emotionally draining as a cancer diagnosis. Reconstructive surgery ensures women that they have access to this important part of treatment, and most importantly, it is a reminder to them that they are survivors.
What is Breast Reconstruction?
The goal of breast reconstruction is to restore one or both breasts to near normal shape, appearance, symmetry, and size following mastectomy, lumpectomy or other types of trauma. Many women who have a mastectomy, surgery to remove an entire breast to treat or prevent breast cancer, have the option of having the shape of the removed breast rebuilt.
Breast reconstruction involves recreating the breast form following its removal due to cancer. These procedures involve the use of breast implants, your own tissue, or a combination of both. Breast reconstruction generally falls into two categories: implant based reconstruction or flap reconstruction. Implant reconstruction relies on breast implants (silicone or saline) to help form a new breast mound, while flap reconstruction uses the patient’s own tissue from another part of the body to form a new breast. Breast reconstruction often involves several procedures performed in stages and can either begin at the time of mastectomy or be delayed until a later date.
There are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing which option is best:
- Type of mastectomy
- Cancer treatments
- Patient’s body type
Reconstructive surgery has made it possible for women to have the choice of receiving a preventive double mastectomy, which has increased, in part, because advances in reconstructive techniques have allowed women to feel more confident that they will look and feel good after a mastectomy.
At Atlantic Center of Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, we work with patients undergoing both immediate reconstruction (at the time of surgery), and delayed reconstruction (a period of time after the breast was removed). We offer tissue expanders, implants, and free flap reconstructions. We also perform revision procedures and use ADM (acellular dermal matrix) and fat grafting to optimize previously reconstructed breasts. We commonly care for patients who have or are undergoing radiation therapy.
If you are a candidate for reconstructive surgery, call Atlantic Center of Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, at one of our locations in Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, Weston, Boynton Beach, or Naples today at (954) 983-1899 or request an appointment online.