Questions About Breast Reconstruction After Breast Cancer
While a woman’s long-term health is certainly the most important consideration during breast cancer surgery, many patients understandably feel less feminine, less attractive, and less like themselves after mastectomy. Until fairly recently, undergoing mastectomy for breast cancer often meant permanently losing your breast(s). Fortunately, however, modern medicine and technology now give women the opportunity to restore a more natural-looking figure and once again feel whole. Board-certified plastic surgeon and breast reconstruction specialist Dr. Alex Mesbahi and the award-winning team at Mesbahi Plastic Surgery in McLean, VA understand the sensitive nature of reconstructive breast surgery and are committed to offering personalized and compassionate care for each and every patient. Get the answers to all of your questions about Washington, D.C. breast reconstruction after mastectomy here.
How does breast reconstruction after breast cancer work?
While most women are somewhat familiar with cosmetic breast surgery, such as breast augmentation or breast lift, the details of reconstructive breast surgery may not be as well-understood. In fact, many patients facing breast reconstruction are surprised to learn that it is a dramatically different procedure than cosmetic breast augmentation.
Because breast cancer surgery involves removing all or some of the patient’s breast tissue and surrounding structures, breast reconstruction aims to rebuild the entire breast mound and is much more complex than simply inserting implants. In many cases, even breast reconstruction with implants requires the surgeon to create an entirely new breast pocket and stretch the skin to accommodate the implant. With multiple breast reconstruction techniques possible today, the details of each procedure will vary from patient to patient. To create the most appropriate surgical plan for your breast reconstruction, Dr. Mesbahi will carefully evaluate your case, collaborate with your oncologist and other surgeons, and conduct a number of preoperative consultations and imaging studies, if warranted.
Patients will be encouraged to know that state and federal laws require breast reconstruction after mastectomy to be covered by insurance. The knowledgeable finance team at Mesbahi Plastic Surgery will help you determine your eligibility for coverage and file the necessary paperwork before your procedure.
What are the different types of breast reconstruction techniques?
Breast reconstruction can be performed in a number of different ways, the most suitable of which may depend on:
- Type of breast cancer surgery performed
- Timing of breast reconstruction
- Existing anatomy
- Desired goals
- Personal preferences
- Surgeon’s recommendations
Most often, breast reconstruction in Washington, D.C. is performed either with breast implants or as a flap procedure, which uses tissue from another area of the patient’s body to rebuild and cover the breast mound. Popular flap procedures for breast reconstruction include the DIEP flap, Latissimus Dorsi flap, and PAP flap. For breast reconstruction with implants, tissue expanders are first placed underneath the skin to create space for the implant.
Can I have breast reconstruction at the same time as mastectomy?
In most cases, breast reconstruction is a multi-step procedure that is performed in stages. However, it may be possible to begin the breast reconstruction process at the time of breast cancer surgery. If you are interested in having breast reconstruction at the same time as lumpectomy or mastectomy, Dr. Mesbahi will work closely with your oncologist and other breast surgeons to determine if a simultaneous procedure may be an option for you.
What happens to my nipple during breast reconstruction?
Depending on the type and extent of breast cancer surgery you require, your nipple may or may not be able to be spared. For patients whose nipples are removed or altered during breast cancer surgery, Dr. Mesbahi offers nipple-areola reconstruction and revision to help give the breasts a more natural look. This may involve tissue grafting and/or cosmetic tattooing.
What does a reconstructed breast look like?
Patients considering breast reconstruction should understand that even with the highest level of surgical expertise, reconstructed breasts will look and feel different than natural breasts. Asymmetry is also a common and often unavoidable consequence of breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Additionally, patients will likely lose some or all of their breast sensation following surgery. However, breast reconstruction is still a highly beneficial procedure for helping restore a more natural contour that makes the patient feel comfortable and confident, particularly in terms of filling out clothing.
Restore your figure, femininity, and confidence with cutting-edge breast reconstruction in Washington, D.C.
Every woman deserves to feel comfortable, confident, and whole. If you are facing mastectomy or have already undergone breast cancer surgery and are interested in the possibility of restoring a more natural and attractive silhouette, breast reconstruction may be right for you. To learn more about the profound benefits of breast reconstruction surgery in McLean, VA, call Mesbahi Plastic Surgery to schedule your private consultation with renowned board-certified and fellowship-trained plastic surgeon and reconstructive specialist Dr. Alex Mesbahi today.