Life After a Mastectomy: Should I Consider Breast Reconstruction?
Mastectomies, lumpectomies, and breast reconstructions all go hand-in-hand, especially for breast cancer patients who wish to maintain a similar level of normalcy一 even after losing one or both breasts to breast cancer. Unfortunately, some women have breast cancer that is serious enough to require complete removal (mastectomy) of the breast. Other women may be lucky enough to only need a partial removal (lumpectomy) that may or may not affect the appearance of the breast.
Regardless of what kind of removal is required, breast cancer surgery can permanently alter the shape and structure of the breast tissue. When the breasts look uneven or are missing completely, some women opt for reconstruction surgery to help them get their bodies back.
What Is Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
There are many variations of breast reconstruction, but the main goal is to rebuild the chest where the original breast was removed. Ideally, women will find that the breast looks more natural if their mastectomy was “nipple preserving,” but many plastic surgeons specialize in nipple reconstruction. If a patient did not have a nipple-preserving mastectomy, a similar look can be achieved with nipple reconstruction and tattooing the skin around the nipple to look like the original areola.
Additionally, women who are planning to have a mastectomy breast reconstruction can let their breast cancer surgeon know in advance; this may change how much healthy skin he or she removes from the breast during your mastectomy. If your surgeon can preserve the excess skin, it will make your reconstruction much smoother一 you won’t have to stretch the skin to fit an implant. There would be other options available if your surgeon was unable to preserve the excess skin, like a graft transfer from your abdomen or thigh.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Reconstructive Surgery?
There are many different ways to reconstruct a breast, so this procedure really can be for anyone. The bottom line is this: if you’ve had a mastectomy and you are struggling to accept your new figure, you are absolutely a candidate for reconstructive surgery.
Emotional & Practical Benefits
First and foremost, breast cancer is an unrelenting beast. Don’t feel like you have to own your single or double mastectomy with pride if you don’t want to. Wear the prosthetics or get a reconstruction if you want to. Your emotional well-being is worth the effort; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Aside from being a way to cope with breast cancer stealing your body, breast reconstruction can help you maintain a level of normalcy.
Many people don’t realize how differently clothing fits without one or both breasts. You can choose to wear a prosthetic or two, but many women prefer not to have to worry about this every time they get dressed. Regardless of your reason for wanting to get reconstruction, you have the right to a body that helps you love yourself.
Breast Reconstruction Scarring
As with any surgical procedure, you can expect some scarring after your reconstruction. Depending on the necessary incisions, your breast reconstruction recovery may have more or less scarring than someone who has the same procedure; everybody is different. Luckily, scar heal kits are effective at reducing the visibility and severity of your scarring. Here at Rejuvaskin, we believe that scar heal kits are a great solution to breast scarring from surgery.
Rejuvaskin’s Breast Surgery Healing Kit
For this surgery, we recommend the “breast anchor” sheets. If your incision looks different for any reason, take a look at the other options and select the shape that fits you best; if you’re having a hard time choosing which shape to use, check out our guide: picking the right silicone sheet for your breast surgery scar. Each kit comes with four critical pieces: two anchor-shaped (or whatever shape you select) silicone sheets, a roll of hypoallergenic medical tape, and a tube of silicone scar gel. Use the silicone sheets overnight and the scar gel during the day for maximum results.
Keep in mind that scar reduction treatments are most effective when started right away. Have your breast surgery healing kit ready for after your incision has completely closed. If you’re concerned about how your incision is healing, talk to your doctor or surgeon about how and when to start scar treatment.