Six FAQs About Breast Reconstruction After Breast Cancer
For women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, getting the appropriate treatment and staying healthy are top priorities. However, it is completely understandable for women to also have concerns about how breast cancer surgery – including a mastectomy or lumpectomy – may change their appearance and affect their self-esteem. When the time is right, the caring and compassionate team at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery, led by board-certified plastic surgeons Dr. James N. Romanelli and Dr. John Layliev, is here to help you restore your look, as well as your confidence, through breast reconstruction surgery in Long Island, NY.
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and have begun to research your options for breast reconstruction, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. You are certainly not alone! There are several different tools, techniques, and methods used for breast reconstruction after mastectomy or lumpectomy, and it may be difficult to determine which is most appropriate for you. During your in-depth consultation at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery, Dr. Romanelli or Dr. Layliev will take all of the time necessary to evaluate your case, discuss your concerns and goals, review the different options at length, and, make a surgical plan that is custom-tailored to your individual needs.
In preparation for your consultation, it is always a good idea to have a list of questions prepared for your surgeon. Below are six of the most frequently asked questions about breast reconstruction after breast cancer surgery to help you get started:
1. How long do I have to wait to have breast reconstruction after my mastectomy?
This is often the first question for women facing a mastectomy or those who have already undergone the procedure. The answer will, ultimately, be up to the surgeon. Some things that are taken into consideration when determining the appropriate time to perform breast reconstruction after mastectomy are the overall health of the patient, the additional breast cancer treatments being performed (such as radiation or chemotherapy), and the reconstruction method being used. In some cases, a surgeon may even be able to begin the reconstruction process alongside a mastectomy. However, for other patients, a surgeon may recommend waiting at least 6–12 months from the conclusion of breast cancer treatment before starting breast reconstruction.
2. Are breast implants my only option for breast reconstruction after breast cancer?
The talented surgeons at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery are highly experienced in the various methods of breast reconstruction, including using breast implants, as well as a patient’s native tissue, in the case of flap procedures. Depending on the exact flap method used, the surgeon will either take fat, skin, muscle, or some of each kind of tissue from a certain area of the body and use it to reconstruct the breast.
In some cases, breast reconstruction will need to be performed in several stages. For example, implant-based reconstruction may require a tissue expander to be inserted into the breast pocket and expanded incrementally in order to make room for the implant.
The technique that is used in a breast reconstruction will depend on a variety of factors, including the patient’s specific cancer diagnosis and the timeline of the reconstruction.
3. What kind of scars should I expect from a breast reconstruction?
As with any surgical procedure requiring an incision, breast reconstruction surgery will result in some amount of scarring. The location and amount of scarring will vary depending on which technique is used in your particular reconstruction. Drs. Romanelli and Layliev take great care to minimize the amount of resultant scarring and place their incisions in locations where scars can be concealed or camouflaged whenever possible.
4. How long is the recovery after a breast reconstruction?
The postoperative details of each patient’s breast reconstruction will depend heavily on the type of reconstruction procedure performed, as well as other factors. In the case of breast reconstruction using implants, which is performed in multiple stages, there may be an ongoing recovery process that continues for an extended period of time. During your preoperative consultation, your surgeon will give you a better idea of what to expect as far as the length of your recovery.
In most cases, breast reconstruction patients can expect some level of discomfort, bruising, and swelling after their procedure. Your surgeon will provide you with prescription medications, at-home methods, and other recommendations for helping to relieve your symptoms.
5. How long do breast implants last?
Breast implants are not designed to be lifelong devices, but in most cases, women can enjoy their implants for up to ten years before requiring a revision or replacement. Some conditions, symptoms, or events can lead to the need for an earlier implant replacement, including implant rupture or capsular contracture.
6. Is breast reconstruction after breast cancer covered by insurance in Long Island, NY?
Fortunately, New York State and Federal law require insurance to cover breast reconstruction after breast cancer. The knowledgeable team at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery will help guide you through the process of obtaining approval from your insurance provider if needed.
Whether you have just received a breast cancer diagnosis or have already completed treatment for breast cancer, the experienced and caring team at Romanelli Cosmetic Surgery is here to help you begin the next phase of your journey. Call our convenient Huntington, NY location to schedule your one-on-one consultation with Dr. James N. Romanelli or Dr. John Layliev today, and learn how breast reconstruction can help you feel whole again!