Breast cancer can be a devastating diagnosis and is quite possibly the most challenging time in a woman’s life. The scars of breast cancer can last a lifetime. However, coming out the other end makes you a survivor. A big part of healing for a lot of women is undergoing breast reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction surgery aims to help women rebuild their lives after a mastectomy or removal of the entire breast. A highly skilled plastic surgeon can restore the appearance of your breasts.
Let’s talk more about breast reconstruction after a mastectomy and where in Atlanta, Georgia, you can go to find out whether or not the procedure is right for you.
What is the Purpose of Breast Reconstruction?
A mastectomy is a surgical procedure in which one or both breasts are removed due to breast cancer. The breast tissue, along with the nipple, areola, and surrounding lymph nodes are removed during the procedure.
If you have undergone a mastectomy, the significant change in your physical appearance may cause continued psychological distress and affect your ability to feel normal again. Breast reconstruction surgery is a procedure that helps create a new breast shape and form after the breast has been removed.
During the procedure, the surgeon rebuilds damaged or missing tissue to restore symmetry to the breasts, ensuring both are the same size and shape. The breasts can be reconstructed using either saline or silicone implants or autologous tissue, which is tissue taken from another part of the body. In some cases, a combination of implants and autologous tissue may be used for the reconstruction process.
The timing of breast reconstruction surgery can also differ – it can be done the same time as a mastectomy or after a waiting period. Factors such as the type of breast cancer and whether radiation therapy is needed can affect suitability for immediate breast reconstruction.
What Are the Benefits of Breast Reconstruction After a Mastectomy?
Breast reconstruction after a mastectomy offers many benefits, both physical and emotional. Psychologically, the procedure helps you feel normal again by creating breasts that are similar to your natural breasts, restoring the feeling of being comfortable in your skin.
Physical Benefits of Breast Reconstruction:
- Restores similar appearance of the breasts as before the mastectomy
- Alleviates physical symptoms associated with mastectomy, such as shoulder and back pain
- Helps improve skin and tissue damage caused by radiation therapy and other treatments
- Eliminates the need for external breast forms, such as weighted silicone prosthesis to maintain the appearance of breasts
- Alleviates difficulties associated with clothing choices after a mastectomy
Psychological Benefits of Breast Reconstruction:
- Restores self-image and self-confidence
- Boosts emotional well-being
- Allows for a healthy body image and sexuality
- Helps you return to a sense of normalcy
There are studies that show patients who undergo breast reconstruction after a mastectomy have reduced incidence of anxiety, compared to patients who have had a mastectomy alone. Incidentally, there are also studies that show patients who have had to wait before a breast reconstruction have higher reported psychological distress.
Breast Reconstruction Surgeon in Atlanta, GA
With over 25 years of experience in breast reconstruction surgery, Dr. Mackay will recommend the best option for you, from the method of reconstruction to the timing of reconstruction. We not only see patients with breast cancer, but also those who are found to have the BRCA gene and will help you make good decisions about your health and wellness.