Top 10 Breast Reconstruction Myths Debunked
- 20 October 2016
- Dr. Mark Broudo
For many women who underwent a mastectomy, breast reconstruction Miami post-mastectomy is the best way to go to restore their breasts to their normal shape and appearance. But there are many myths surrounding the procedure, leading to a lot of confusions and misconceptions in this life-altering surgery.
Click Here to Download Your Free Checklist of Questions
The following are the most common myths about breast reconstruction – and the truth behind them.
Myth #1: Your only option is breast implants.
Breast implants automatically come to mind whenever women think of breast reconstruction. But implants are not the only option, as there are plenty of flap reconstruction options available for women today.
Flap reconstruction uses the patient’s own tissues from other body areas to recreate natural-looking breasts. The most common areas where tissues are harvested from are the tummy and the back, but tissues from the thighs and buttocks can also be used. Since the tissues come from the patient’s own body, flap reconstruction also avoids several long-term problems associated with implants, like implant hardening.
Myth #2: You need to wait to heal after a mastectomy to get a breast reconstruction.
You can actually undergo breast reconstruction at the same time as your mastectomy, as this generally leads to the best cosmetic results. Doing this can save your natural breast skin and decrease the amount of scarring involved. It will also feel good, since you would not have to wake up with a flat chest, avoiding any self-esteem issues that might crop up during that period. Women who have early breast cancer are good candidates for a mastectomy paired with a breast reconstruction.
However, you also have the option of waiting some time after your mastectomy before you get a breast reconstruction. The timing is totally up to you.
Myth #3: You cannot get a breast reconstruction after undergoing radiation or chemotherapy.
Radiation, chemotherapy, or any other treatment do not disqualify you from getting a breast reconstruction. It all depends on your individual situation, as these treatments can significantly affect your overall health.
Based on studies, radiation therapy causes higher complication rates in women who underwent breast reconstruction through breast implants. Hence, flap reconstruction might be better suited for them.
For those who underwent chemotherapy, getting a breast reconstruction right after the treatment might not be beneficial, as chemotherapy significantly delays healing. However, women can still get a breast reconstruction once they have recovered from their chemotherapy sessions.
Myth #4: Everyone who underwent a mastectomy can also have breast reconstruction.
Unfortunately, not every woman who had a mastectomy is also a good candidate for a breast reconstruction. Keep in mind that getting a breast reconstruction is often just an elective procedure and not a life-or-death situation, though it helps improve one’s quality of life. Since it is an elective procedure, you should be mindful of its risks and benefits. If the risks already outweigh the benefits, then it is not a good idea to get a breast reconstruction.
Women who have advanced breast cancer are not good candidates for a breast reconstruction Miami post-mastectomy. Likewise, this treatment is also not advisable for those with chronic health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Myth #5: Breast reconstruction can give you large breasts.
Some women think of a breast reconstruction as an opportunity to get the large breasts that they have always wanted. But unfortunately, surgeons cannot always guarantee that a patient will receive a particular breast size. There are several factors that affect the size of a patient’s breasts after reconstruction, including discomfort and skin thickness.
Also, the results of a breast reconstruction are not the same as those of breast augmentation. With the latter, no breast tissue has been removed, so the breasts would naturally look bigger than reconstructed breasts.
Myth #6: A breast reconstruction is also an opportunity to get a tummy tuck.
Since flap reconstruction often uses tissues taken from the abdomen, some women think that this is already equivalent to getting a tummy tuck. But flaps are rarely a substitute for a tummy tuck.
In a breast reconstruction, the skin and fat taken from the abdomen are harvested with their blood supply – certainly not the case in a tummy tuck, where only excess skin and fat are removed. Hence, the scar in the abdomen might be slightly higher than that of a traditional tummy tuck.
Myth #7: Breast reconstruction will make your chest look unnatural.
This myth once rang true during the early days of breast reconstruction. But with the continuous advancement of breast reconstruction technology, unnatural-looking breasts have become nothing more than a myth. Covered with clothes, your breasts will look as if they have never been reconstructed at all.
However, results are not always the same with every woman. Those whose nipples were not spared might end up with unrealistic-looking breasts, although 3D nipple tattoos have helped change that. Those who only had a single mastectomy might suffer from asymmetrical breasts, but this can be remedied with a symmetry procedure on the unaffected breast.
Myth #8: You will only need one breast reconstruction surgery.
Most women require several procedures to complete a breast reconstruction surgery. It depends on several factors, including the type of reconstruction that you are having, your body shape and size, your individual recovery, and your surgery goals.
Additional procedures may also be needed for healing or other cosmetic problems. If you are unhappy with the result of your breast reconstruction, you may also want to get another surgery to achieve the results that you want.
Myth #9: Breast reconstruction will make it harder to detect a breast cancer recurrence.
There is no evidence showing that breast reconstruction has any impact on cancer detection. Cancer recurrence depends on many factors, including cancer stage and your biological characteristics. The important thing is to undergo breast exams and screenings even after your breast reconstruction to determine if your cancer is coming back. You just need to talk to your doctor regarding the type of reconstruction to get so as not to affect certain screenings or exams that you might need in the future.
Myth #10: Any plastic surgeon can perform a breast reconstruction.
Though any licensed physician in Miami can perform plastic surgery, including breast reconstruction, you would not want just Miami doctor to perform this procedure on you.
Breast reconstruction is a highly specialized and artistic operation that requires experience and skill on the part of your plastic surgeon. You will most likely be satisfied with the results of your surgery if you choose a doctor who has been certified by both The American Board of Surgery and The American Board of Plastic Surgery.