Every year, thousands of women are undergoing mastectomies to remove their breasts due to a cancer diagnosis or high risk of future cancer. Whether as a preventative or reactionary measure, a mastectomy is a major choice for any woman since it quite literally takes away two of the very things that make a woman feel feminine and attractive.
The silver lining in such a situation is that Western medicine is advanced enough to have mastered safe and effective breast reconstruction surgery as well. Breast reconstruction can occur immediately after a mastectomy or many months or years afterward, but studies show that many women aren’t aware of their reconstruction options.
The Basics of Breast Reconstruction
There are two main forms of breast reconstruction: implant and autologous reconstruction. Implant reconstruction is similar to a breast enhancement because it uses implants filled with either salt water or silicone gel to form breasts that both look and feel realistic under the skin. Autologous reconstruction, on the other hand, uses tissue transplanted from another part of the body, such as the belly or thighs, to create new breasts.
While implants are easier and require less recovery time, they also are more prone to problems in the long run. Autologous flaps are significantly harder to achieve and require an intense recovery period, but they can last a lifetime. Each woman needs to work with her team of doctors to determine which option makes most sense for her.
It is even possible to make choices regarding the nipples. While some mastectomies can spare the nipples, others cannot and require women to decide if nipple reconstruction is a priority.
Both federal and state laws require insurance companies to pay for all breast reconstruction costs after removal of breast tissue has occurred. This is a huge relief for women who want to regain their femininity and sexuality but can’t afford the procedure out of pocket.
Breast reconstruction is a very complex process with a multitude of options and considerations. It’s vital to speak with a reliable doctor to get all of the information necessary before making such a major decision.