After a mastectomy or lumpectomy, what do you need to know about breast reconstruction surgery?
While preparing to have a mastectomy, your doctor will likely talk with you about your options for post-mastectomy reconstruction. There are two types of breast reconstruction surgery. In the first, an artificial breast implant is used. This is known as implant reconstruction. Alternatively, autologous reconstruction involves using your own body tissue to reconstruct your breasts. A plastic surgeon may either use one or both of these methods combined, depending upon your individual circumstances regarding what to do post mastectomy. To guide your decision, there are several questions you should ask your doctor.
1. What are the risks of breast reconstruction?
Prior to making your decision about to having surgery, ask your surgeon about the risks, including:
- Will the breast reconstruction interfere with the chemotherapy?
- Does the reconstruction affect radiation therapy?
- What other risks are involved in breast reconstruction?
- How long is recovery, and what should I expect?
2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of immediate breast reconstruction, versus waiting until a later post-mastectomy date?
Breast reconstruction is usually done either during the mastectomy or lumpectomy, and in some situations, soon afterward. However, breast reconstruction can be performed months or even years after having a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Important questions to talk with your surgeon include:
- When is the best time for me to have reconstruction surgery, based on my current condition?
- How will my chest area look after the mastectomy, if I decide not to have immediate breast reconstruction?
- What is the difference in recovery time between immediate reconstruction versus reconstruction later?
3. Do I have any other options besides reconstruction?
Your doctor should be able to educate you all about the mastectomy process, but he or she may not be aware of other options for a post-mastectomy plan besides reconstruction. This doesn’t mean that you should settle for a procedure that may not be right for you.
One option that you may not be aware of is acquiring custom breast prostheses. After your recovery from your mastectomy, ContourMed works with your local professional fitter in your city to scan your surgical site so that your custom breast forms can be made to your precise measurements and will fit securely against your chest wall.
Your forms will then be:
- Fully customizable to the size, shape, areola and nipple specifications, and skin tone that you want.
- Hand-crafted at our headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas.
- Provided with a two-year warranty.
What to do Next
Don’t settle for an immediate breast reconstruction if it doesn’t seem like the right option for you. ContourMed is a trusted provider of information for women exploring post-mastectomy options. For additional information about custom breast forms for women who may not want an immediate breast reconstruction, please contact ContourMed today to speak with an expert at 501-214-6080.