Breast reconstruction patients often have some questions and concerns. This surgery can be an excellent way for a woman to rebuild her breasts, as well as her self-esteem, after a mastectomy. Here are the top 5 questions about breast reconstruction today.
1. Who is a Candidate for Breast Reconstruction?
Most women who opt for breast reconstruction surgery are dealing with breast cancer or have dealt with it in the past. Women who are facing a mastectomy in the near future are often excellent candidates for breast reconstruction. Even if a mastectomy was performed some time ago, a woman might be a good candidate for breast reconstruction. In some cases, women who don’t have cancer but who do have an elevated risk of breast cancer (the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene) may opt for a preventive mastectomy and breast reconstruction.
2. Will Health Insurance Cover the Surgery?
Yes, health insurance does typically cover breast reconstruction surgery. The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act states that insurance plans providing mastectomy coverage must also have reconstructive surgery coverage. Patients should speak with their insurance provider to make sure about exactly what type and level of coverage are available.
3. How Soon After Mastectomy can Breast Reconstruction be Done?
Breast reconstruction surgery can be done immediately after a mastectomy if desired. In fact, many women opt to have the breast reconstruction done during the same operation as the mastectomy. This allows for a single anesthesia and a single recovery period. There may be cases where it is better to delay breast reconstruction, especially if the patient needs ongoing radiation post-mastectomy. This is an individual decision that the team at Patterson Plastic Surgery is happy to help patients with if they have questions about when the surgery is best for them.
4. What Will Reconstructed Breasts Look Like?
Just as natural breasts come in a variety of shapes and sizes, reconstructed breasts can be as unique as the individual. This means that patients can work with the surgeon to help determine what their breasts will look like following the reconstruction surgery. In many cases, women who have breast reconstruction will have implants. The implant size, material, and placement can have a significant impact on how the breasts will eventually look. The surgeon can provide patients with before and after photos of previous patients. By looking at photos of patients with a body type similar to their own, women can get a good general idea of what their new breasts will look like.
5. How Long is the Recovery?
The recovery period can vary widely from one woman to another. The kind of reconstruction done, the time that the reconstruction is done, and a woman’s individual healing capacity can all have an impact on the length of recovery. The majority of women who have breast reconstruction can go back to their usual activities within about two weeks, although it may take some patients up to 6 weeks to recover.
Considering Breast Reconstruction?
Dr. Nathan Patterson of Patterson Plastic Surgery is one of the leading experts in breast reconstruction on the Gulf Coast. He has the knowledge and the skills to create beautiful and natural looking new breasts after mastectomy. Click below to schedule a consultation.