How did you go about deciding to have breast reconstruction after mastectomy?

How did you go about deciding to have breast reconstruction after mastectomy?

Doctor Answers 6

Decision for breast reconstruction after mastectomy

A breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming.  There are multiple tests that are completed, several doctors appointments, the emotional impact of having a cancer diagnosis, worries about the impact of your illness on your family and friends, and many others.  Furthermore, for many people the prospect of having a breast removed and worries about the appearance afterward can be very troubling.  The best way to learn about breast reconstruction options is to meet with a reconstructive surgeon that can specifically describe what options are available to you as an individual and answer your questions.  Regardless of whether you decide to proceed with reconstruction -- or even possibly delaying your decision regarding reconstruction until after your mastectomy --  knowing your options and educating yourself about your options can help put your mind at ease. 

Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Breast reconstruction after mastectomy

Breast reconstruction is a very personal choice. Several different surgical options exist and so choosing the "right" one for you is based on your personal circumstances. In consultation with your plastic surgeon, you will learn about the surgeries and be better able to make your choice.

Asaad H. Samra, MD
New Jersey Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Talk to a plastic surgeon about reconstruction before mastectomy

Many patients seem to be rushed through the decision process once the diagnosis of breast cancer is established, but there are important new trends in reconstruction that make a compelling case for taking the time to learn about it early. These include:

  • skin-sparing mastectomy proven as effective for cancer control as traditional appraoches for early stage cancer
  • the use of acellular dermal matrix such as Alloderm makes implant reconstruction a good option with quick recovery for many patients
  • immediate reconstruction, either "direct to implant" or with a tissue expander, is proving safe and effective (this of course needs to be arranged before the mastectomy is planned)
  • the above factors combined make mastectomy plus immediate reconstruction a better alternative than lumpectomy and radiation treatment for some patients

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

When to decide to do breast reconstruction

There are many factors that enter into the decision to have breast reconstruction.  HAve you already had the mastectomy?  If so, are you wearing an external prosthesis?  If you are happy with an external prosthesis, there may be less of a reason to have reconstruction.  Factors such as overall health, willingness to go through additional surgery and recovery, and ability to stick it out if there are complications, are a consideration. Of course, talking it over with a plastic surgeon is paramount.  Also, my nurse runs a support group for women who have had reconstruction, and that is very helpful to women who are contemplating reconstruction. They are sometimes the best resource.

Paul W. Loewenstein, MD
Milwaukee Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Breast reconstruction after mastectomy

I usually have a very long conversation with patients regarding options for breast reconstruction most commonly done before their mastectomy.  Sometimes patients come in after the mastectomy to talk to me, but I prefer in most cases if possible to do it at the same time as the mastectomy. I think that it is very important for the patient.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

I would suggest in person consultation with board certified plastic surgeon

There are two main options for the breast reconstruction. The most common option is implant reconstruction. The next option is using your own tissue for the reconstruction. Please send more information about the type of cancer and it's size and location.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.