According to a report by John Hopkins University, more than 70% of breast cancer survivors who choose not to have a breast reconstruction at the time of their mastectomy don’t realize they have the opportunity to reconstruct their breast or breasts at a later date and time. Every year, Dr. Comizio helps New Jersey women with delayed breast reconstruction, helping them to finally recover the womanly silhouette they’ve desired for months, or perhaps even years after their mastectomy. A procedure that is covered by health insurance, breast reconstruction can help boost a cancer survivor’s self-esteem and sense of self-image.
What many breast mastectomy patients don’t realize is, even if it’s been years since your natural breast or breasts were removed, you are likely still a candidate for delayed breast reconstruction. Read on as we discuss the three breast reconstruction surgery options for breast cancer survivors – breast reduction or breast lift for symmetry, implant-based breast reconstruction, and tissue-based breast reconstruction.
Breast Reduction or Breast Lift for Symmetry
New Jersey women who have had previous lumpectomy or mastectomy on one breast may have never considered the possibility of having the unaffected side changed to improve their symmetry. A breast reduction and lift on the breast not involved with cancer in many instances is an excellent way to improve a New Jersey breast cancer survivor’s ability to wear clothing more comfortably and improve their self esteem. Symmetry surgery is covered by health insurance. Symmetry surgery is done as an outpatient and does not involve or distort the side of the body that had the breast cancer. Reducing asymmetry also may improve any neck or shoulder discomfort from having an uneven pull along the shoulders from the bra straps. Symmetry surgery even can reduce the risk of cancer in the uninvolved breast and may make breast exams easier by having less tissue thickness. Symmetry surgery can definitely lead to a lighter breast prosthesis in a women who has had a mastectomy without reconstruction by enabling her to wear a smaller prosthesis to match the reduced breast on the other side.
Tissue-based Breast Reconstruction
Many mastectomy patients have never considered getting plastic surgery prior to their breast cancer diagnosis. Many New Jersey women who have chosen to delay breast reconstruction like the option of having their breasts reconstructed using their body’s own natural tissue. With a tissue-based breast reconstruction, skin, blood vessels, and tissue are moved from one area of your body – typically your abdomen or back – and then used to form a breast.
While tissue-based breast reconstruction is a good surgical option for many women who have delayed breast reconstruction, it’s not for everyone. First, you need to have enough donor tissue to harvest for the procedure, so women who are thin may not be candidates for this type of delayed breast reconstruction. Second, because tissue-based breast reconstruction requires incisions and surgery at multiple sites simultaneously, it can be a more complicated surgery and require more recovery time.
Implant-based Breast Reconstruction
Some New Jersey breast cancer survivors choose to forgo tissue-based breast reconstruction and have their breasts reconstructed with silicone or saline breast implants. This procedure is very different from a typical cosmetic breast augmentation. With a delayed implant-based breast reconstruction, tissue expanders are placed under the skin and subcutaneous tissue, then inflated postoperatively. After the remaining breast skin has sufficiently stretched, silicone or saline implants are placed.
Delayed implant-based breast reconstruction is not for every New Jersey women who has gone through breast cancer treatment. If you have had radiation or multiple scars on your breast, the expander may not produce the breast size and shape you are looking to achieve.
Consulting with Dr. Comizio About Delayed Breast Reconstruction
No matter how long it’s been since you had your mastectomy, it’s not too late to think about breast reconstruction. If you are a cancer survivor and are ready to say goodbye to prosthetics or regain your curves, reach out to New Jersey’s Dr. Comizio for a consultation about delayed breast reconstruction by calling her office at (973) 775-9248.