Well known actress, Christina Applegate, publically announced her decision to have a bilateral mastectomy followed by immediate breast reconstruction. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and also tested positive for the BRCA gene.
Many embraced Applegate’s strength when she underwent her reconstruction at 36 years of age.
A few years later, Angelina Jolie, who tested positive for the BRCA gene, made her decision on breast reconstruction, as well.
Although these two celebrities never meant to be spokeswomen for breast reconstruction, they certainly provided other women with immense education, dialogue, and hope.
Above all, they empowered women to take control.
Breast reconstruction is a personal decision. With the guidance of specialists, including a board certified plastic surgeon they will be able to recommend the best type of reconstruction surgery. Any cancer treatments including radiation is also part of the reconstruction assessment and consideration.
Different types of breast reconstruction may include:
• Tissue Expansion
• TRAM FLAP
• DIEP FLAP
• SGAP FLAP
Tissue Expansion offers an easier recovery, but the levels of reconstruction with frequent saline fills and implant exchange surgery will make it longer.
The various FLAP surgeries are utilizing a patient’s own muscle and tissue to recreate a breast, and if needed, to hold an implant. It is an in-depth, initial surgery with more recovery, but takes less time in the long run than Tissue Expansion.
Most women who have undergone breast reconstruction to either one or both breasts agree that it does not feel like their natural breast. It’s not an augmentation, it’s a reconstruction. While there will be some scarring, a portion of it will fade in time.
While advances in breast reconstruction continue to move forward, it’s still a journey which requires patience. And a support system will make the road much easier to travel.
Having a strong relationship with a plastic surgeon is critical. It’s encouraged to discuss what to expect before, during and after the procedure. Being well-informed is incredibly helpful.
Be assured that if a doctor has chosen this as their specialty, he or she is well-aware of the emotions surrounding this surgery, so they will be helpful throughout the entire process. Likewise, so will their medical support team in the office.