Breast reconstruction has helped many women restore their breasts after mastectomy or lumpectomy (breast conservation) with exceptional results. For individuals who are going through such a challenging time in their lives, it is very important to have the best possible information about their options for breast reconstruction. Unfortunately, there are a few myths and misconceptions about breast reconstruction that have been widely disseminated over the years, and can ultimately give women who are considering this procedure a false impression.
Here are some of the more common misconceptions about breast reconstruction, and some information on why these claims are not quite accurate:
Breasts that have been reconstructed do not appear natural.
The field of breast reconstruction has advanced significantly over the last few decades. In fact, there are numerous breast reconstruction techniques that can serve a variety of unique needs and goals for the best results. When performed by experienced plastic surgeons who have extensive skills and training in reconstructive surgery, the results from breast reconstruction can both look and feel very natural.
Breast reconstruction cannot be performed for women who have undergone radiation therapy.
While breast reconstruction options are more limited if the patient has undergone radiation as part of their cancer treatment, it is still possible to achieve successful breast reconstruction. In many cases, particular breast reconstruction techniques can be utilized that can help the patient restore their breasts with natural-looking results.
Patients must undergo breast reconstruction surgery immediately after the mastectomy.
For many individuals, breast reconstruction does not have to be performed immediately following the mastectomy procedure. Although immediate breast reconstruction is preferred due to its proven psychological benefits, many women undergo delayed breast reconstruction months or even years after their breast cancer surgery. For instance, in cases where women have been treated with radiation, delayed breast reconstruction is often preferable to replace the radiated tissue in order to achieve the best possible aesthetic results that will last.
Breast reconstruction techniques utilizing breast implants are the only options available.
While implant-based reconstruction is a popular technique, the fact is there are numerous other breast reconstruction options that do not require breast implants for successful results. Our surgeons offer a variety of autologous, or “your-own-tissue,” breast reconstruction methods—such as the DIEP flap technique—that utilize an individual’s own abdominal fat to recreate a natural-looking breast in a tummy-tuck like procedure.
Breast cancer will be more difficult to detect after breast reconstruction.
A recurrence of cancer in the breast area should not be more difficult to detect due to breast reconstruction. With that in mind, depending on the reconstruction technique utilized, a patient may be advised to undergo special types of breast screenings and diagnostic exams to improve accuracy.
Breast reconstruction is only possible for patients having a mastectomy.
Breast reconstruction is also possible for patients undergoing lumpectomy or breast conservation. While most patients may not need any reconstruction, some may benefit from fat grafting to restore loss of volume, and/or they may benefit from breast lifting procedures. The goal of breast reconstruction after lumpectomy is to create better balance and symmetry after treatment of breast cancer.
Do you have questions about breast reconstruction procedures? Please don’t hesitate to contact Florida Plastic Surgery today. We will be happy to provide you with additional information.