of a breast that has been removed due to cancer or other disease
is one of the most rewarding surgical procedures available today.
New medical techniques and devices have made it possible for
surgeons to create a breast that can come close in form and
appearance to matching a natural breast. Frequently, reconstruction
is possible immediately following breast removal (mastectomy),
so the patient wakes up with a breast mound already in place,
having been spared the experience of seeing herself with no
breast at all. But bear in mind, post-mastectomy breast reconstruction
is not a simple procedure. There are often many options to consider
as you and your doctor explore whats best for you.
Most mastectomy patients are medically appropriate for reconstruction,
many at the same time that the breast is removed. The best candidates,
however, are women whose cancer, as far as can be determined,
seems to have been eliminated by mastectomy.
Still, there are legitimate reasons to wait. Many women arent
comfortable weighing all the options while theyre struggling
to cope with a diagnosis of cancer. Others simply dont
want to have any more surgery than is absolutely necessary.
Some patients may be advised by their surgeons to wait, particularly
if the breast is being rebuilt in a more complicated procedure
using flaps of skin and underlying tissue. Women with other
health conditions, such as obesity, high blood pressure, or
smoking, may also be advised to wait.
In any case, being informed of your reconstruction options before
surgery can help you prepare for a mastectomy with a more positive
outlook for the future.