What You Need to Know about Breast Reconstruction
After undergoing a mastectomy, some women find breast reconstruction to be a positive step in the recovery process. However, the surgery is not one to approach without a great deal of thought and preparation. If you are considering breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, there are a few things to carefully consider before you schedule your surgery.
Timing of Reconstruction
Mastectomy reconstruction can be performed at the same time as the mastectomy or a several months later. Factors that affect the timing of the procedure may include the patient’s preference and whether she will have additional cancer treatment after surgery. Patients that will need radiation therapy may opt for a delayed reconstruction. However, some women choose to have a tissue expander put into place at the time of the mastectomy so they are ready for reconstruction surgery at a later date.
Type of Implants
Women who choose to have implants as part of the reconstruction process will need to select between saline and silicone implants. Saline implants are filled with a sterile saline solution once they are put in place. Silicone implants come already filled with a gel-like silicone substance that tends to look and feel more like natural breast tissue. Both implants have their pros and cons, so it is important to discuss all your options with your surgeon prior to reconstruction surgery.
Recovery after Surgery
Like the mastectomy, breast reconstruction surgery will require some recovery time afterward. Women may experience significant discomfort after the procedure, which can be managed with oral pain medication. Most patients are able to return to work and regular activities within a few weeks after the procedure.
Insurance Coverage Options
Some women may not choose to have reconstruction surgery due to the cost of the procedure. However, federal law requires insurance companies that cover mastectomies to also cover at least a portion of the cost of reconstruction surgery. Talk to your insurance company prior to your procedure to determine how much of your surgery tab might be picked up by your insurance company.
Monitoring after Reconstruction
As a general rule, women who have had a breast completely removed through a mastectomy will probably not need to have that breast monitored regularly. However, regular mammograms may be recommended for the other breast. It is important to let the radiology technician performing the mammogram know you have breast implants to ensure the procedure does not damage the implant.
Dr. Leslie Stevens is experienced in all types of breast surgery, including reconstruction procedures after a mastectomy. To learn more about your options in reconstruction, contact the Lasky Clinic at 310-556-1003 to schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Stevens.