October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it is hard to ignore the number of women who battle this disease. This year alone, an estimated 268,000 new cases of breast cancer are expected to be recorded in the United States — the numbers are staggering. Whether a woman was diagnosed with breast cancer or deemed high risk, a mastectomy or lumpectomy is most often recommended. Following treatment, many women consider breast reconstruction surgery at some point to rebuild their breasts. During this surgery, a plastic surgeon creates a new breast shape using an implant or a flap of tissue taken from another place on the body. Some patients require nipple reconstruction or a nipple-sparing mastectomy as part of their treatment plan. There are many things to consider when undergoing breast reconstruction surgery. Finding the right, highly qualified plastic surgeon who can expertly perform this complex surgery is essential for ensuring your results are pleasing, both physically and emotionally.
There are many myths surrounding breast reconstruction surgery. One of the best ways to ensure your questions are factually answered and that you are happy with the results is to schedule a consultation with a reputable cosmetic surgeon. Board-certified plastic surgeons Dr. James Romanelli and Dr. John Layliev of Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery in Huntington, NY, are leading experts in breast reconstruction procedures in the greater Long Island area. Together, they help women understand this often emotional and sensitive process so they can feel assured about their choices for their bodies. They know that their patients have many things to consider when it comes to breast reconstruction. Every woman’s situation is unique, and an in-depth look is required to understand the different options available. Below, we have uncovered four myths about breast reconstruction following cancer.
1. There is a waiting period after your mastectomy before breast reconstruction
Breast reconstruction surgery may involve more than one procedure at different stages. Women can have immediate reconstruction at the same time as a mastectomy, which often leads to the best results. Women with early-stage breast cancer — stages 1 or 2 — are ideal candidates for this technique. Another option is to delay reconstruction until after treatment is complete. The advantage of having immediate breast reconstruction is that natural breast skin can be saved, decreasing the amount of scarring. Patients who opt for immediate reconstruction wake up with reconstructed breasts and may avoid future surgeries.
2. Breast reconstruction increases the odds of cancer recurring and makes a recurrence harder to detect
The risk of breast cancer recurrence has many factors that are more dependent on the stage and characteristics of cancer upon diagnosis. Dr. James Romanelli and Dr. John Layliev will assess your condition, including the level of risk, before recommending the best option for reconstruction. Studies have been conducted over the years, and the results indicate that there is no evidence that breast reconstruction surgery increases the risk of recurrence or makes a recurrence more challenging to detect and treat. It is always strongly advised that you remain diligent about your health and visit your medical doctor for continued check-ups.
3. Breast reconstruction surgery is expensive
For Long Island women, federal law requires insurance to cover breast reconstruction surgery. In 1998, Congress passed the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act, a federal law that requires group and individual health plans to cover mastectomies as well as breast reconstruction. This critical law benefits women who are recovering from breast cancer and helps them to focus their efforts on their health versus worry over finances.
4. Implants look unnatural and are uncomfortable
Thanks to medical advances in plastic surgery, implants have come a long way since their introduction. New materials and techniques have made them more comfortable and more natural in appearance. Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery in Huntington, NY, offers both silicone and saline implant choices in an array of sizes, textures, shapes, and profiles to best match a patient's body style. Dr. James Romanelli and Dr. John Layliev also offer autologous reconstruction, or fat transfer, for Long Island women who prefer not to use an implant to reshape their breasts. In short, today's breast reconstructions are so advanced that it may be difficult to distinguish them from a woman's original breasts.
The facts uncovered
Now that you understand the facts about breast reconstruction, it is easy to see the many benefits of this next step. The natural appearance of reconstruction can restore a woman’s profile, and it can provide symmetry if a mastectomy involves only one breast. Long Island women can feel confident about how they look in their clothes and bathing suits, and enjoy renewed self-esteem. The plastic surgeons at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery in Huntington, NY, are caring and sensitive about the delicate needs of their patients desiring breast reconstruction surgery. If you have been considering breast reconstruction surgery, please call Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery to schedule a consultation with Dr. Romanelli or Dr. Layliev.