It is never easy to talk about breast cancer and mastectomy. Not only do women facing mastectomy have worries about their health and the implications of their treatment, but many patients also have anxiety about how the surgery will change their figure and affect their self-confidence. Fortunately, cosmetic surgery offers advanced options for breast reconstruction that can help women feel whole again after a mastectomy for breast cancer. The exceptional team at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery, led by board-certified plastic surgeons Dr. James Romanelli and Dr. John Layliev, fully understand how difficult this situation can be and are committed to providing the most personalized and compassionate care possible for women facing breast reconstruction in Long Island, NY.
If you have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and are planning for your mastectomy and next steps, or if you have already undergone surgery for breast cancer, it is important to understand all of your options for breast reconstruction surgery. Here are five of the most commonly asked questions – and their answers – when it comes to breast reconstruction after breast cancer:
1. Q: Can breast cancer patients get implants?
A: The majority of breast cancer patients are candidates for breast implants, depending on the specific nature of their condition, surgical history, and other factors. There are several different breast reconstruction methods available to restore a more natural, feminine contour following a mastectomy or lumpectomy, including the use of breast implants. The most commonly used breast reconstruction methods include:
- Breast implants: The use of breast implants for breast reconstruction, typically, requires the placement of tissue expanders to stretch the remaining skin enough to accommodate the implant. These saline-filled expanders are placed into the breast pocket, and a small amount of solution is added at various intervals over several months. Once the tissue has been adequately stretched, the expanders will be removed and replaced with silicone or saline breast implants.
- Flap procedures: There are multiple “flap” methods for breast reconstruction, each of which involves the use of a patient’s tissue, skin, and fat from another area of the body to reconstruct and cover a breast mound.
- Combination procedure: In some cases, a flap technique is combined with the use of breast implants.
Because breast reconstruction is a highly individualized procedure, each surgery is custom-tailored based on several factors. During your initial consultation, Dr. Romanelli or Dr. Layliev will examine your breasts, thoroughly evaluate your health and surgical history, answer all of your questions at length, and confer with your oncology team to determine which type of breast reconstruction may be the most appropriate for your unique situation.
2. Q: Can I get breast reconstruction at the same time as a mastectomy?
A: Arguably, the most commonly asked question by women facing breast cancer surgery is how soon they can begin the reconstruction process. This is completely understandable, as many women are anxious about looking – or feeling – less feminine and less attractive after a mastectomy. In many cases, breast reconstruction can be undertaken at the same time as a mastectomy, though it will depend on the specifics of each patient’s situation. Oftentimes, breast reconstruction is a multi-step process and may begin at the same time as a mastectomy, but take one or more subsequent procedures to complete.
3. Q: Can you get fake nipples after breast cancer?
A: Because many women lose their nipples as part of a mastectomy or breast cancer surgery, simply reconstructing the breast still leaves them feeling self-conscious. Fortunately, the talented team at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery also offers cutting-edge nipple and areola reconstruction as a finishing touch for Long Island, NY breast reconstruction. A combination of techniques, including tissue grafting and cosmetic tattoo, is often required to achieve the most realistic result. Nipple reconstruction is generally performed several months after breast reconstruction to allow the breast enough time to heal appropriately.
4. Q: What does a reconstructed breast look like?
A: While breast reconstruction can certainly be life-changing, it is important that patients have realistic expectations about their potential results. Reconstructed breasts may not have the same look, feel, or sensation as the patient’s original breasts, but the improvements can still be profound and give the patient an opportunity to wear their preferred style of clothing and feel more comfortable and confident with their partner again.
Because breast reconstruction is typically performed following a mastectomy, lumpectomy, trauma, or other extenuating circumstances, it is not always possible to achieve the same kind of results that are possible with cosmetic breast augmentation. For example, mastectomy may result in significant breast asymmetry or deformity, which can make the technique much more complex. Drs. Romanelli and Layliev are highly experienced in the complexities and nuances of breast reconstruction and make every effort to give patients the most natural, appealing, and desirable results possible.
5. Q: Does insurance cover breast reconstruction?
A: Federal law mandates that breast reconstruction after breast cancer is covered by insurance companies. The knowledgeable team at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery will help guide you through the process of submitting the appropriate documentation to receive your coverage.
Feel like yourself again with Long Island breast reconstruction surgery
If you are facing breast cancer surgery and have concerns about how a mastectomy will change your body, you are certainly not alone. Join the countless women who have undergone breast reconstruction to restore their feminine figure, boost their confidence, and feel more comfortable in their own skin. Call the friendly team at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery in Huntington, NY to schedule your private consultation with one of our renowned board-certified plastic surgeons, Dr. James Romanelli and Dr. John Layliev, and discover the physically and psychologically transformative benefits of breast reconstruction today.