With early detective measures and better medical surgical procedures, more and more women are surviving and thriving after breast cancer. For some women, a mastectomy is the only answer to ridding the body of cancer but it means removal of the breast. Once the pressing cancer threat is over, many women end up dealing with the loss of self-worth that may happen after the removal of one or both breasts. Breast reconstruction is a logical choice that can give them back some semblance of normalcy.
Several things will dictate how the breast reconstruction cosmetic procedure is performed. First, the woman’s natural breast size is a mitigating factor and then the condition of the skin is another. The female patient’s desires as to the size and shape are also taken into consideration as well as their health.
Implants are a distinct possibility for those female cancer survivors who have a bit of excess skin remaining after the breast removal. For those women with little skin to work with, they must go through a procedure which expands the skin in the breast area over time, so that an implant could be placed comfortably and naturally. The device used for the expansion looks like a balloon that is then pumped with a saline solution and slowly filled over time.
Sometimes the chest skin cannot be stretched so tissue and skin from other areas of the body are harvested for the breast reconstruction. The stomach area is popular to harvest skin as is the back of the buttocks area. Some muscle, fat and tissue may be taken from the back area as well to use in the reconstruction. The woman’s body will dictate where this extra tissue will come from.
There are some side effects to contend with when using tissue from a harvested site. Muscle weakness can be a problem as well as visible scarring. When the stomach area is used for donor tissue, doctors treat the harvesting similarly to a tummy tuck and there are fewer side efects with this option. Surgery does go well usually and there will always be some scarring from the reconstruction.
A longer recuperative is a given when the breast reconstruction occurs immediately after a mastectomy. If the reconstruction surgery separated from the mastectomy by a few months or longer, there is an easier recovery period. Normal activities may be weeks or months, depending on timing and type of breast reconstruction procedure used.
Breast reconstruction cosmetic surgery should be viewed with a realistic eye so that the women will not have unrealistic expectations. Undergoing cancer surgery to remove one or both breasts will leave lasting scars that breast reconstruction will partially take care of but there will always be some signs of the cancer trauma. The goal of the breast reconstruction is to give the women a sense of femininity and a boost to their self-confidence.
Counseling from a psychologist in addition to the cosmetic surgeon could be helpful for the women as they might need some help sorting through their conflicting feelings about their cancer survival as well as their warring need for breasts, one of the biggest signs of femininity.