Thanks to the strides in technology and medicine, more and more brave women are surviving and thriving after breast cancer. For many of these women, a mastectomy is their only option for a successful treatment. Once the immediate cancer danger is over, many of these women are dealing with the emotional issues of self-worth due to the loss of one or both breasts. Having breast reconstruction cosmetic surgery performed is a choice many make to help them feel more like a woman again.
How the breast reconstruction surgery is performed depends on several factors. First of all, mastectomy procedures always have some differences because each woman's breasts are different. So, how the mastectomy was performed is a factor as well as the state of the patient's skin. Include the wants and expectations of the patient and you have the basis of a breast reconstruction that may differ greatly from one woman to the next.
For those women with sufficient excess skin after a mastectomy, implants are a good possibility for them. The women would first undergo a procedure that would help expand the skin in the chest area, so that an implant could be accommodated. This tissue expansion is done by inserting a device under the skin that looks similar to a balloon. It is filled with a saline solution over a predetermined period of time. This helps stretch the skin in preparation for implants during a breast reconstruction.
When the amount of skin in the chest area is insufficient for implants, donor skin and tissue from other parts of her body is used. The most popular area is the stomach or abdominal area. The procedure to extract the skin and excess tissue from the abdominal area is similar to that of a tummy tuck. While this procedure involves more recovery time, some women enjoy the side benefits of a firmer tummy when they get new breasts out of the deal!
Another fatty, fleshy area that sometimes serves as a donor site is the back. Cosmetic surgeons extract tissue through the armpit area to the breast site. Some muscle is also used to reconstruct the breast or provide a cushioned area to insert a small implant. Sometimes, your buttocks area provides the donor tissue for breast reconstruction cosmetic surgery. Each woman's body and situation is different, so consultations with the surgeon are essential in choosing the best course of action.
When using a donor site, there are some repercussions. Some women report muscle weakness in their back and arms, if the donor tissue site is taken from the back. In addition, the scars are more visible. Luckily, this is not the case for those women whose abdomen is the donor tissue site. For these women, there are faint chances of a hernia or cases of "Buddha" belly. Overall, most women recover quite nicely after breast reconstruction cosmetic surgery. They will always have scars, but the rewards far outweigh the leftover physical aspects of the procedure.
During a woman's recovery, it is important to note that those who are able to have breast reconstruction right away after a mastectomy will have a longer recuperative time. If the reconstruction surgery is put off a while after the mastectomy, there is an easier recovery period. Returning to normal activities could take weeks even several months, depending on which procedure was taken during the breast reconstruction surgery.
Women undergoing these cosmetic procedures need to have reasonable viewpoints regarding the expected outcome. Physically, breast reconstruction cosmetic surgery will help women achieve a lasting breast outline and bring a proportional look to the chest area. This renewed sense of femininity boosts their self-confidence and eliminates the need for those bras with the prosthetic inserts that have the potential to pop out of a shirt. However, it is important to also note that the scars will always be there to serve as a reminder of everything they have gone through. Their new breasts will not feel the same or they may have lost sensation permanently in certain places like the nipple area.
Numerous consultations with their cosmetic surgeons should help define their expectations of the breast reconstruction cosmetic surgery. Counseling from a psychologist might also be beneficial to help the women sort through their feelings about loosing a breast and getting a new one through surgery. For the most part, women view their scars with pride and see them as badges of honor they have earned in their winning battle with cancer
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