For patients who have had a mastectomy, reconstructive surgery and custom breast forms are both post-mastectomy options. But how do you make the decision between reconstruction and custom breast forms?
An overview Reconstruction and Custom Breast Forms
When you have undergone a mastectomy, your doctor will present you with several post-mastectomy options. For help making the most suitable decision, it is important to become knowledgeable about the history and background of reconstruction vs. custom mastectomy breast forms.
Reconstructive surgery involves either having implants made of silicone or saline surgically implanted, or having flap reconstruction performed, which grafts tissue from another part of your body to create new breasts.
On the other hand, breast prosthetics are designed to fit your chest wall, and offer a non-invasive option for those who choose not to have surgery. The two options are vastly different, so it is helpful to look at them through the lens of safety, convenience, and cost.
Reconstruction involves undergoing a surgical procedure and comes with certain risks, such as possible infection, tissue or nipple damage, and excessive bleeding. There are several different methods of reconstruction, but the common “flap surgery” can result in weakened muscles near incision points or a loss of feeling in your nipples.
Custom breast forms do not involve any invasive procedures. While they are not physically permanent (you will remove your breast forms nightly before you go to bed), custom prostheses offer a secure fit next to your surgical site and are customizable in many ways; you can choose the style, size, weight, color, and even nipple and areola specifications. For custom silicone breast forms, safety is not an issue.
Reconstructive surgery requires a significant amount of recovery time that can vary from patient to patient. If all goes well with your surgery, having a breast reconstruction can be relatively convenient and can offer a long-term solution in your post-mastectomy plan. However, reconstructive surgery requires a certain amount of recovery time, which may be an inconvenience if you have an active lifestyle. If you choose reconstruction, you should expect to limit your physical activities for several weeks, at a minimum. Some women require several surgeries over time to obtain satisfactory results.
On the other hand, the convenience of custom breast forms is this: you do not need to have another surgery. Not only this, but you are able to choose the features of your new breast forms. Instead of undergoing surgery and recovery, acquiring custom silicone breast forms simply requires an initial scan to take precise measurements (using our patented Symmetry Scan technology) and a consultation to choose the features that you would like your forms to have.
Breast reconstruction can be expensive; however, it is usually covered by insurance companies that provide mastectomy coverage. If you have this type of policy, you will not have to pay as much out of pocket as you would without coverage, making it more affordable.
As far as the cost of custom breast forms is concerned, your questions can be answered by the experts: speak with your insurance company and consult with one of our retailers.
Visiting with a consultant at ContourMed is a great way to discover which mastectomy breast form is most suitable for your needs and lifestyle. If you are interested in learning more about your custom breast form options, please contact ContourMed today at 501-214-6080. http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/reconstruction/is-reconstruction-for-you  https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/20/no-easy-choices-on-breast-reconstruction/?_r=1  https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/reconstruction-fact-sheet  http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/09/plastic-surgery-is-not-for-everyone-options-following-a-mastectomy/245423/  http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/reconstruction/types/implants/risks  http://contourmed.com/the-known-health-risks-of-getting-breast-implants/  http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/reconstruction/paying-for