Women who need mastectomies often consider the option of reconstruction. There are a number of possible choices, and it is extremely important to be well-informed about them all and about the realities of each choice. It is equally important to remember that the option of no reconstruction may be the best solution for a particular woman. You can find out more about this at www.breastfree.org
If this is your situation and if you are facing a mastectomy, I strongly encourage you to at least meet with a plastic surgeon and hear about the surgical possibilities. Since different plastic surgeons often have different preferences and skills, it may be helpful to meet with more than one. That is, you may get a different recommendation from each doctor. There is no easy answer to this question, and many women suffer through making a decision. I can promise you that every woman whom I have known, no matter what her final choice, has made peace with it. Perhaps it is because we are resiliant or perhaps it is because we know ourselves well, but you will make the best decision for yourself and your future. Remember, too, that reconstruction can be done at the same time of a mastectomy (although there are some exceptions to this, depending on the total treatment plan) or as a delayed procedure. I have known women who opted for the delay mainly because they were unsure what they wanted to do. After living without a breast for a while, they knew whether this was a satisfactory choice or whether they preferred reconstruction.
You may also be interested in reading a blog started recently by Samuel Lin, MD who is a plastic surgeon at BIDMC who is especially interested in the DIEP flap reconstruction.
All of this is build-up to informing you about an upcoming teleconference with Living Beyond Breast Cancer (www.lbbc.org) regarding reconstruction:
Breast Reconstruction: Understanding Your Options
Register now for our next free teleconference, Breast Reconstruction: Understanding Your Options, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on Wednesday, July 28. Learn more.
Karen M. Horton, MD, MSc, FRCSC, a board certified plastic surgeon with Women's Plastic Surgery, will help you learn about:
- Different types of reconstructive surgeries
- The latest research in rebuilding the breast
- How to determine the option that is best for you
- Microsurgery, nipple reconstruction and immediate versus delayed surgery
- The stages of the reconstruction process
- What to expect during your recovery
This teleconference will also discuss questions to help you explore whether you want to consider reconstructive surgery.
You may also be interested in Breast Reconstruction: Options, Expectations and Alternatives.