Knowing your options: Breast reconstruction surgery
For those with localized breast cancer, surgery is almost always recommended to remove it. Surgery can sometimes be used to remove solely the individual tumor with most of the breast preserved (lumpectomy). In other situations, the entire breast is removed (mastectomy). The type of surgery performed depends on different factors including the cancer type, how advanced it is as well as the individual’s overall health and preference.
Regardless of the type of surgery performed, the breast will be different. Some women may like this change. Others may desire to regain their prior shape. While breast reconstruction is one option, some women may choose alternatives due to other health issues, to avoid another surgery or cost. Alternatives include a breast form or prosthesis in their bra or going flat.
For those who prefer breast reconstruction, the experienced surgeons at Marshall Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery are available to walk them through this process.
“We recognize this is an emotional time for women dealing not only with the stress of cancer but also the physical changes to their body,” said Rahman G. Barry, M.D., board-certified surgeon at Marshall Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. “Each patient’s goals are different, and our desire is to find the best approach to achieve their desired shape.”
There are two main approaches to breast reconstruction, implant reconstruction and tissue (flap reconstruction). Implant uses a silicone shell filled with saline or silicone to replace the tissue removed from the breast. Tissue reconstruction takes tissue from other parts of the body such as the belly to better match the way breast tissue looks and feels. Sometimes surgeons will use both if the result will be a more realistic look.
Marshall Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery’s surgeons work closely with the breast surgeons at Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center (ECCC). For some individuals, having breast reconstruction at the same time as the surgery to remove tumors is the best option.
However, reconstructive surgery does not have to be performed immediately. Women can choose to have it performed at a later time. For those who had a mastectomy, insurance is required to cover breast reconstruction regardless of when it is performed under the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act.
For an appointment with one of the surgeons at Marshall Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, call 304-691-8910. To learn more about the different types of reconstructive surgeries available, visit marshallhealth.org/reconstruction.