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Breast reconstruction after a mastectomy

One in eight women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer at some point during their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. While incidence levels have been stable since 2004, over 226,000 cases will be detected every year, resulting in 40,000 deaths.

There are many treatment options put forward depending on the type of cancer present and its stage of development at detection. For many women, however, the only safe treatment option is the complete removal of the affected breast, known as a mastectomy.

Once the mastectomy is completed, however, ladies are left to deal with the emotional impact of having had a breast removed. Breast reconstruction surgery can be used in these circumstances to restore the body’s natural shape, matching an artificial breast to the remaining natural one. Some breast reconstruction surgery can be done at the same time as the mastectomy procedure, reducing the amount of surgery and recovery time required.

There are two types of breast reconstruction that can be done following a mastectomy: prosthetic and autogenous. Prosthetic reconstruction is similar to a cosmetic breast augmentation, in that synthetic implants are used to mould the shape of the breast. These implants are then slowly enlarged over three to six months to allow the skin to stretch naturally.

The second method of breast reconstruction is a longer and more complicated procedure. Autogenous reconstruction involves taking living tissue from another part of the patient’s body to mould the replacement breast, typically using tissue from the back, buttocks, thighs or abdomen. Once the breast has settled into its more permanent shape, surgeons can take nipple tissue from the unaffected breast and transfer it to the reconstructed one, creating a more natural look. Autogenous surgery is a serious procedure, however, and will result in scarring in the area from which the tissue is taken.

If you are considering reconstructive breast surgery after a mastectomy, it is important to talk through your options with your doctor before speaking to surgery providers.

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This post is sponsored by MYA, a leading specialist in breast augmentation and other cosmetic surgeries.

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