Our breast reconstruction patients ask us many great questions, and we thought it would be helpful to gather them together for women wanting a concise rundown on the subject. Here are the top five questions we hear about breast reconstruction, with answers from Dr. Humenansky.
Breasts come in all shapes and sizes, and that goes for reconstructed breasts as well. The good news is this means that you can help with determining what your breasts will look like after reconstruction. Depending on your individual anatomy and unique goals, we will work with you to determine what techniques and options will be the best fit for you. When implants are being placed, your final outcome will largely be shaped by your chosen implant size, profile, and material.
Reconstructive surgery can be done at any time following a mastectomy. Reconstructive surgery can sometimes be done during the same operation as the mastectomy, while you are still under anesthesia. Immediate reconstruction often results in fewer surgeries but can complicate recovery if additional radiation therapy is needed. Delayed breast reconstruction is a good choice if you may require continued radiation after mastectomy or would prefer to have time to recover emotionally and consider what you want from your reconstruction.
Group health plans, HMOs, and insurance companies that offer mastectomy coverage are required to cover reconstructive surgery under the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act. To make sure you understand your options, it’s best to discuss coverage with your insurance company before scheduling surgery.
Many factors contribute to your individual recovery period. The type of reconstruction performed, when you have your reconstruction, and your body’s ability to heal can all affect recovery time. Although it may vary, you should expect to slowly begin resuming normal activity two to three weeks following breast reconstruction. Most patients say they feel fairly “normal” within six weeks. Your surgeon should provide specific after-care and recovery instructions during your consultation.
The quick answer is no. While many choose breast implants for reconstruction following mastectomy, you may choose to use your own tissue. Using your body’s natural tissue is called autologous reconstruction. While autologous breast reconstruction generally has a longer initial recovery period, it may ultimately result in fewer overall procedures. There are both pros and cons to both autologous and implant-based breast reconstruction. Your surgeon will discuss these with you during your consultation.
Want to learn more about breast reconstruction surgery? Watch this video to hear Dr. Humenansky discuss breast reconstruction and her goals when performing surgery. Dr. Humenansky is well versed in breast reconstruction and patients love our team and the support she provides.