What is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is achieved through several plastic surgery techniques that attempt to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance and size following mastectomy.
What to expect during your consultation
The success and safety of your breast reconstruction procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. Youâ€™ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.
Be prepared to discuss:
Why you want the surgery, your expectations and desired outcome
Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
The options available in breast reconstruction surgery
The likely outcomes of breast reconstruction and any risks or potential complications
The course of treatment recommended by your plastic surgeon, including procedures to achieve breast symmetry
Your surgeon may also:
Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
Examine your breasts, and take detailed measurements of their size and shape, skin quality, and placement of nipples and areolae
Take photographs for your medical record
Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
Discuss likely outcomes of breast reconstruction and any risks or potential complications
Important facts about the safety and risks of breast reconstruction
The decision to have breast reconstruction surgery is extremely personal. Youâ€™ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.
Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedures you will undergo and any risks or potential complications.
The possible risks of breast reconstruction include, but are not limited to, bleeding, infection, poor healing of incisions, and anesthesia risks. You should also know that:
Flap surgery includes the risk of partial or complete loss of the flap and a loss of sensation at both the donor and reconstruction site.
The use of implants carries the risk of breast firmness (capsular contracture) and implant rupture.
Breast implants do not impair breast health. Careful review of scientific research conducted by independent groups such as the Institute of Medicine has found no proven link between breast implants and autoimmune or other systemic diseases. Visit www.breastimplantsafety.org for current information.
Where will my surgery be performed?
Surgery for your breast reconstruction is most often performed in a hospital setting, possibly including a short hospital stay, and your doctor will likely use general anesthesia.
Some follow-up procedures may be performed on an outpatient basis, and local anesthesia with sedation may be used.
These decisions will be based on the requirements of your specific procedure and in consideration of your preferences and your doctorâ€™s best judgment.
How much will breast reconstruction surgery cost?
Cost is always a consideration in surgery. Prices for breast reconstruction can vary widely. A surgeonâ€™s cost for breast reconstruction may vary based on his or her experience as well as geographic location.
Many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask.
Cost may include:
Hospital or surgical facility costs
Prescriptions for medication
Post-surgery garments, and
Medical tests and x-rays
Breast reconstruction surgery after breast cancer is considered a reconstructive procedure and should be covered by health insurance. However, your coverage may only provide a small part of the total fee.
Your satisfaction involves more than a fee
When choosing a plastic surgeon for breast reconstruction, remember that the surgeonâ€™s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.
All Materials 2009 ASPS/PSEF