Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure that aims to rebuild the shape and appearance of the breast after mastectomy, lumpectomy, or other forms of breast surgery. It can help women regain their self-confidence and feel more comfortable in their bodies after undergoing breast cancer treatment.
Despite its benefits and advances in technology, there are still many misconceptions surrounding breast reconstruction that prevent women from considering it as an option.
At , we strive to educate women about the realities of breast reconstruction and dispel common myths surrounding it. Here are some of the most prevalent breast reconstruction myths and the truth behind them:
Myth #1: You Will Lose Sensation in Your Breasts After Reconstruction
It is a common misconception that women who undergo breast reconstruction will lose all sensation in their breasts. While it is possible to experience some loss of sensation, this does not happen to every woman.
Advancements in surgical techniques, such as , can help women undergoing breast reconstruction regain this lost sensation. This procedure involves reconnecting nerves in the newly reconstructed breast to help restore feeling and sensation.
Myth #2: Reconstructed Breasts Are Always Obvious and Look Unnatural
Many people believe that breast implants always look fake and unnatural, which can discourage women from considering reconstruction. With advancements in surgical techniques and technology, breast reconstruction can now produce very natural-looking results.
There are several different methods of breast reconstruction, including using the patient's tissue from another part of their body, which can result in a more natural-looking breast. Additionally, Surgeons can customize the size, shape, and placement of the implant to match your body type and desired results.
Myth #3: Breast Reconstruction is Only for Cosmetic Purposes
Breast reconstruction is often seen as a purely cosmetic procedure, but it has many functional benefits as well. Rebuilding the breast can help improve balance and posture, reduce back pain and discomfort, and restore symmetry to the body.
For women who have undergone mastectomy or lumpectomy due to breast cancer, breast reconstruction can help restore a sense of wholeness and improve self-esteem. It is not just about aesthetics, but also about physical and emotional well-being.
Myth #4: Breast Reconstruction Always Involves Implants
While implants are a popular option for breast reconstruction, they are not the only method available. Some women may prefer to use tissue from other parts of their body, such as the or , to reconstruct their breasts. This is known as autologous reconstruction and can produce more natural-looking results.
At The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we specialize in these procedures. Our skilled surgeons use the latest techniques to create breasts that look and feel natural, without the use of implants. We also offer options for women who have had that were unsuccessful or resulted in complications.
Myth #5: Breast Reconstruction is Only Available Immediately After a Mastectomy
Contrary to popular belief, breast reconstruction does not have to be done immediately after a mastectomy. While may be available for some patients, with implants being placed during the same surgery as a mastectomy, most women will undergo reconstruction at a later time.
In fact, many women may choose to delay their reconstruction until they have completed other breast cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy. This can help ensure better long-term results and reduce the risk of complications.
It's important to know that there is no 'one size fits all' timeline for breast reconstruction. Every woman's journey is unique, and the timing of surgery should be based on individual health factors and personal preferences.
Myth #6: Breast Reconstruction is Only for Younger Women
Age is not a limitation for breast reconstruction. Whether you are in your 20s or 50s, you can still undergo this procedure if it is medically safe for you. In fact, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons notes that older women who undergo reconstruction .
The decision to have breast reconstruction should be based on your overall health and personal preferences, not your age. It is important to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon to determine if reconstruction is right for you.
Myth #7: Breast Reconstruction is Not Covered by Insurance
In 1998, the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) was passed to ensure that women who have undergone mastectomy also have access to reconstruction. This law mandates that any insurance plan that covers mastectomy must also cover breast reconstruction, including all stages of reconstruction, from the initial surgery to any necessary revisions.
At The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we work closely with insurance providers to ensure that our patients receive the coverage they are entitled to for their breast reconstruction journey.
Myth #8 Breast Reconstruction is a Quick Fix
Breast reconstruction is a process that requires time, patience, and proper healing. While it can greatly improve self-confidence and quality of life, it is not a quick fix. Recovery time can vary depending on the type of reconstruction and individual healing abilities.
It's important to have realistic expectations and understand that breast reconstruction takes time to achieve natural-looking results. Your plastic surgeon will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan and guide you through each step of the journey towards restoring your breasts after mastectomy.
The Importance of Education and Support in Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction is a complex procedure that offers numerous benefits, can be performed using a variety of methods, and is not limited by age or timing. However, it is often misunderstood. Fortunately, with the right information and guidance, every patient can make an informed decision about whether breast reconstruction is right for them.
Our team of experienced breast reconstruction surgeons in Charleston, SC, is dedicated to helping every patient achieve their desired breast reconstruction results. We offer personalized treatment plans and work closely with insurance providers to ensure our patients receive the coverage they are entitled to.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I still undergo breast reconstruction if I have had radiation therapy?
Yes! Radiation therapy does not necessarily disqualify you from undergoing breast reconstruction. However, the timing of your reconstruction may be affected by previous radiation treatment. It's important to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon to determine the best course of action for your individual situation.
What is the success rate of breast reconstruction?
The success rate of breast reconstruction varies depending on the type of procedure, underlying health conditions, and individual healing abilities. DIEP Flap surgery, for example, has a success rate between 96% and 99%.
Will I lose nipple sensation after breast reconstruction?
Some women may experience temporary loss of nipple sensation, while others may have permanent changes. However, advances in surgical techniques and the introduction of Resensation, a procedure that reconnects nerves during breast reconstruction, can help restore sensation in some cases.
Can I undergo breast reconstruction if I have a history of smoking or other health issues?
Your overall health and medical history will be taken into consideration when determining if you are a candidate for breast reconstruction. Some health issues, like smoking, may increase the risk of complications during surgery. It is important to discuss your medical history with your plastic surgeon to determine the best course of action for your case.