If you or a loved one is fighting breast cancer, this is so important.
A diagnosis of breast cancer can be very devastating news to even the strongest minded woman. The battle can be long and arduous involving surgery and frequently even chemotherapy and possibly radiation. Fortunately, there are reconstructive options that are available today that can help restore your body and confidence to make you feel as whole as possible again.
Breast reconstruction can be classified as either immediate or delayed reconstruction. Immediate reconstruction involves efforts of restoring the breast at the same time as the mastectomy or lumpectomy. This is why it is labeled immediate since it is occuring at the same time as the breast cancer surgery to help limit the amount of surgeries the patient undergoes. Thoughout the years, plastic surgeons have also found that immediate reconstruction is associated with the best cosmetic outcomes as well. Having reconstruction in the immediate setting allows the most amount of skin to be saved leaving plastic surgeons more to work with.
Patients who have already undergone a mastectomy at an earlier date undergo delayed reconstruction. The breast is absent and frequently there is a horizontal scar across the chest. There is usually no extra skin so that a prosthesis can easily fit onto a flat surface. Delayed breast reconstruction can occur at any time, and does not usually have a clear time frame; it is usually when the patient is ready. Frequently, patients are not offered reconstruction at the time of their mastectomy or are overwhelmed when they would just like to focus on the cancer surgery itself. Wearing a prosthesis may be cumbersome and inconvenient if the patient may seek reconstruction in a delayed fashion. Whichever the case, there are various techniques that can be deployed to reconstruct a breast in either the immediate or delayed setting. My next article will focus on the different techniques available for breast reconstruction.