Cosmetic Breast Surgery
Modern surgical technology makes it possible to construct a natural-looking breast after mastectomy (breast removal) for cancer or other diseases. The procedure is commonly begun and sometimes completed immediately following mastectomy, so that the patient wakes with a new breast mound instead of no breast at all. Alternatively, reconstruction may begin years after mastectomy. Insurance companies cover reconstruction following breast cancer surgery, and both federal and state legislation make coverage mandatory.
Women whose cancer seems to have been eradicated with mastectomy are the best candidates for breast reconstruction. Those with health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure and those who smoke are advised to wait. Others prefer to postpone surgery as they come to terms with having cancer, consider the extent of the procedure, or explore alternatives.
There are many ways to perform breast reconstruction. These procedures range from simple to very complex in nature. The recoveries can also be quite variable. The results can also be quite variable and therefore, picking the right procedure is very important. To reach the right decision, it is critical that patient and doctor carefully consider their expectations and desires.
Understanding that all women are different is essential for a physician in order to guide a patient through these choices. The reconstruction itself consists of multiple operations, the first of which involves creation of the breast mound and is performed during or after mastectomy in a hospital under general anesthesia. Later surgeries, if necessary, may be done in the hospital or an outpatient facility, with either general or local anesthesia.
At Columbia Plastic Surgery, it is our goal to minister to the needs of our breast cancer patients during these most difficult days. While we would love to hope that one day breast cancer will be a thing of the past, until that day arrives, it will be our goal to guide our patients through these challenging days.