The breast cancer journey is full emotion. If you’ve had a mastectomy because of breast cancer, you may be wary of having yet another procedure such as breast reconstructive surgery, a procedure that restores symmetry between the two breasts by replacing skin, breast tissue and the removed nipple. Let us put your mind at ease about breast reconstruction by answering these frequently asked questions.
How do I know if it’s right for me?
The decision to undergo breast reconstruction is a highly personal and often difficult one to make. Many women choose to wear breast forms or pads instead of undergoing surgery, while others may feel that reconstructive surgery will give them psychological benefits like an overall sense of wellness. If you do choose breast reconstruction, be aware that there are options; you can choose to either get breast implants or have a flap procedure, during which your surgeon will your own tissue from another part of your body, such as the abdomen or back.
When should I have breast reconstruction?
The best time to have reconstruction surgery depends on your medical conditions, cancer treatment and basic desire for the procedure. It can be done at the same time as breast removal or later on in life. Talk to your doctor to help decide the best timing for you.
Is breast reconstruction cosmetic surgery?
Breast reconstruction surgery is considered part of treating a disease and is not considered a cosmetic procedure. In fact, according to the law, insurance providers cannot deny coverage.
How soon will I fully recover from surgery?
The typical hospital stay is one to two days for implants and five to six days if you have the flap procedure. You can expect swelling, bruising and soreness for up to three weeks, and most women return to normal activities in as little as six weeks post-surgery. Over the following months, you’ll begin to notice gradual improvement to the shape of your reconstructed breast.