Answering Your Breast Reconstruction FAQs
Breast reconstruction is a surgical process that involves restoring breast shape, volume, and symmetry after mastectomy for cancer or cancer prevention. The decision to undergo breast reconstruction is a personal one, and there are a variety of surgical options. We are committed to providing you the highest quality care and support as you navigate your reconstructive options.
We take great pride in delivering natural results, and our goal is to recreate a breast mound that is similar to your native breast, to help you feel more balanced and symmetric both in and out of your clothing.
In this blog, we are going to answer a few frequently asked questions about breast reconstruction.
Do I Need to Have Breast Reconstruction?
It is not a must for you to get breast reconstruction after mastectomy. After breast removal surgery, you may not want to undergo any more surgeries, and that is okay. The reasons to have or not have reconstruction are different for every patient. For these women, there are options for prostheses to wear in a bra to provide the appearance of a breast and other wonderful resources for women who choose to go flat. Other women need additional therapy that may prevent them from having reconstruction at the time of their mastectomy.
How Long Is the Breast Reconstruction Process?
It is possible to have “one and done” surgery where the breast cancer surgery and reconstruction are completed at the same time. However, the time taken to complete breast reconstruction varies depending on how many surgeries you choose to undergo and if you need further cancer treatment. It often takes six months to one year for the breast reconstruction to be complete with the nipple and areola reconstructed with a natural breast size, shape and symmetry.
Steps in the Breast Reconstruction Process
• Step one: the first surgery is performed to recreate the breast(s). Then, you typically wait three months for healing.
• Step two: optional further surgery to make changes to the breast created earlier to further refine the size, shape and volume as well as the symmetry.
• Step three: a procedure to add the nipples and areolas.
What If I Need Chemotherapy?
If you need chemotherapy after mastectomy, it does not prevent you from getting breast reconstruction. Most medical oncologists will wait until you are fully healed from mastectomy and breast reconstruction before they begin chemotherapy. Sometimes, the surgeon might adjust your surgery dates to fit in your chemotherapy. For instance, the oncologist can postpone second surgery until you recover from chemotherapy.
Can I Still Have Breast Reconstruction if I Need Radiation?
If you need radiation, your surgeon will discuss breast reconstruction options with you. Radiation increases the rate of complications including infections, fluid buildup, more scar tissue, implant capsular contracture, and tissue hardening or “fibrosis”. For this reason, one of the best reconstructive options following mastectomy and radiation is to use your own natural tissue to replace the areas of radiation damage.
Who Pays for Breast Reconstruction?
If you have health insurance, by law, it will cover mastectomy and breast reconstruction. That does not mean they will make it easy. We are here to help you navigate the insurance process. An additional covered benefit of all insurance companies includes matching procedures on the non-cancer breast to improve overall breast symmetry.
Schedule a Consultation
To learn more about breast reconstruction, schedule a consultation by calling our office or contacting us online.