Who is a candidate for breast reconstruction?
The most common individuals that need breast reconstruction have had mastectomies due to breast cancer. There are however other situations where reconstruction may be needed such as congenital problems, severe asymmetry, or trauma.
What is the goal of breast reconstruction?
The goal of modern breast reconstruction is to reconstruct a breast that is as natural in appearance and feel as possible. It should be as symmetrical as possible. A simple breast mound is no longer acceptable.
Does insurance cover breast reconstruction?
If you have had a mastectomy, your insurance is mandated by law to cover the reconstruction. It should also cover surgery on the opposite breast for symmetry if needed. If your treatment was anything other than a mastectomy or if is a congenital problem, then you may have to seek approval from your carrier.
What are the options for reconstruction?
There are essentially two main types of reconstruction. One is to use your own tissue from one of several possible donor sites. The other is to use implants. No one procedure is ideal for everybody. There are a multitude of factors that go into the decision as to which type of reconstruction is best for you. The final decision will be made by you and your surgeon.
How long does the process take?
Regardless of which path is chosen, it is a long process. It may take as little as 3-4 months to complete. There may be circumstances where the process may take up to a year, or more.
Can the mastectomy and reconstruction be done at the same time?
Yes. There are several advantages to having the reconstruction done at the same time as the mastectomy. Unfortunately this is not always possible. The decision will be made before surgery with your surgeons.
How long will I be in the hospital?
If you choose to have reconstruction with your own tissue you can expect to be in the hospital for 5-7 days. If your reconstruction is done with implants, you will need an overnight stay.