Undergoing a breast reconstruction procedure can be stressful enough without the added confusion of misleading information. While I always advise patients to research their conditions and surgical options before a consultation, you must beware of the false and deceptive info that can be all-too-commonly found online. For the sake of clarity, I have put together some details on common misconceptions about breast reconstruction in hopes that it may clear the smoke.
Is there a specific timeframe after my mastectomy that I need to undergo my breast reconstruction?
When you choose to undergo your breast reconstruction is totally up to you. Many patients do opt to have their breast reconstruction immediately following their mastectomy (known as Immediate Reconstruction), but this is far from the only approach. For some patients, it makes more sense to wait until after they have completed radiation or chemotherapy or taken time to help determine if reconstruction is the right path for them before undergoing breast reconstruction (known as Delayed Reconstruction). Since every breast cancer patient is unique, every breast reconstruction procedure and its timeframe are unique as well. I recommend consulting with your entire team of doctors (breast surgeon, plastic surgeon, oncologists, etc…) before making a decision on your surgery timeframe.
Can breast reconstruction be used as treatment for conditions other than breast cancer?
Breast reconstruction can be used to address issues other than breast cancer, most notably Poland Syndrome. Poland Syndrome is a fairly rare syndrome that can cause the underdevelopment of a breast and underlying chest muscles. For women with Poland syndrome, breast reconstruction can help restore the chest area, though only after breast development on the unaffected side is completed to ensure symmetry.
Are breast cancer screenings required for reconstructed breasts following a mastectomy?
For patients who have undergone breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, future screening mammograms on your reconstructed breast (or breasts) are not required. There is no current data that indicates the importance of routine breast cancer screening after a mastectomy and reconstruction procedure. Annual physical exams and regular self-exams are considered sufficient, unless the patient notices something unusual.
Hopefully this helped answer some of your questions about breast reconstruction. If you still have additional questions of your own regarding breast reconstruction, please contact Dr. David Whiteman at Southern Plastic Surgery to schedule a complimentary consultation today. During your consultation, I will discuss your surgical options as well as your aesthetic goals to work out a surgery plan best suited to your needs. You can also follow Southern Plastic Surgery on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for all the latest cosmetic surgery news and updates.