Reading Time: 4 minutes
What Type Of Surgery Does A Breast Cancer Patient Need?
Breast reconstruction is only necessary when part or the entire breast is removed during surgery. Doctors perform surgery when a cancerous growth is detected in the breast area. There are two types of surgery: mastectomy and lumpectomy. A mastectomy is when a surgeon removes the entire breast and a lumpectomy is when a portion of the breast is removed. A mastectomy can be a preventative measure for those at high risk of developing breast cancer. A lumpectomy is performed when a portion of the patient’s breast contains a cancerous growth. The type of surgery a patient gets depends on the growth. If the tumor is growing aggressively, doctors may remove the entire breast.
Will I need breast reconstruction surgery?
Breast reconstruction is a personal choice. Ultimately, the patient decides if reconstruction is necessary. For many patients, the look and feel of the breast are important, so these patients opt for reconstruction surgery after removal. Doctors can reconstruct the breast through two different procedures: implants or skin flap surgery.
Breast implants are made of silicone or saline solution. Silicone is a plastic gel used to create the shell casing along with the interior of the breast implant. Saline is a saltwater solution and these implant casings may be made of silicone or another material. Generally, saline poses less of a health risk to the body.
Skin flap surgery
Skin flap surgery involves skin grafting. Doctors take tissue and sometimes blood vessels from another part of the body and attach these to the remaining breast tissue. Doctors may use a combination of implants and skin flap surgery to achieve a more natural look. Both surgeries require an ample amount of recovery time, usually 2 months or more. Depending on the patient’s condition, a patient may have to undergo multiple surgeries to get a fully reconstructed breast.
Who will perform the surgery?
A plastic surgeon will perform the breast reconstruction, but an oncologist will handle the lumpectomy or mastectomy. These doctors should be communicating with each and the patient to streamline both procedures. Doctors can perform a reconstruction during a lumpectomy or mastectomy or months after the initial surgery.
When should I talk to my doctor?
Patients can speak to a physician about reconstruction at any time during treatment. A doctor can educate a patient on surgery options as well as send a referral to a plastic surgeon. Most insurance companies cover reconstruction surgery following a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Schedule a consultation with a doctor to learn more.