NYC specialist discusses the benefits; cost considerations of breast reconstruction after cancer treatment
Dr. Edmund Kwan and his team know there are a multitude of factors to consider when exploring options to look and feel your best; notably, they understand you’ll need to weigh the returns from treatment with your investment of time and money. He’s happy to introduce you to the cost and benefits of breast reconstruction treatment in NYC and looks forward to discussing these factors with you in person during a consultation at his Manhattan, Flushing, or New Jersey office.
A look at costs
Dr. Kwan and his staff take pride in being very transparent about costs. Those numbers account for the services that are involved with your procedure, including:
- Fees for our AAAASF-certified ambulatory surgery facility
- Post-surgical garments
- Medical tests
It’s important to not choose a surgeon based on price alone. A Board-certified plastic surgeon such as Dr. Kwan has demonstrated experience and knowledge in reconstructive techniques. Surgical skill helps to ensure your safety and satisfaction with the outcome and minimizes the risks of complications.
Many procedures that are elective, and designed to improve one’s appearance alone, are not covered by insurance. Procedures that are needed to reconstruct breasts after cancer treatment are typically covered. The Women’s Health and Cancer Right Act, passed in 1998, was enacted to require group health plans that cover mastectomies also include coverage for the reconstructive surgery so critical to lifelong wellbeing. Additionally, this law established that other necessary services post-cancer treatment be covered, including external breast prostheses, and therapies to manage lymphedema or the swelling that commonly arises after radiation or surgery.
As a reconstructive procedure, surgery after breast cancer treatment should be covered by your plan. Depending on your coverage, only a portion of the total fee may be covered. Dr. Kwan and the team will discuss options such as financing early in the process, which helps to shoulder the financial burden of out-of-pocket costs.
The many benefits
The look (and feel) of breasts, especially in relationship to the rest of the body, contribute significantly to a woman’s sense of self and femininity. A diagnosis of breast cancer can be life-changing and even devastating, especially if the treatment carries with it a risk of noticeable disfigurement.
Soon after your diagnosis, Dr. Kwan and his team will be here for you, so you’ll be informed about options. The decisions you make early in the process can affect reconstructive results. For this reason, your plastic surgeon coordinates care and works closely with your oncologist and other members of your medical team.
While reconstruction is often done within the same appointment as the mastectomy, you may opt for health or personal reasons to delay reconstructive surgery for months or even years afterward. The timing and type of approach to reconstruction depends on your unique treatment plan.
The goal is to recreate the breast. By restoring the appearance of the breast, both physical and emotional balance is also restored. It’s important to regain a sense of “normalcy” after treatment. Dr. Kwan may achieve all these benefits with options such as Transverse Rectus Abdominis Myocutaneous, which is another way of saying that body tissue from your abdomen is transferred to reconstruct the breast. While it yields good cosmetic results, there is the potential for complications and prolonged hospital stays so implants and a tissue expander may be recommended instead.
Breast reconstruction also helps to:
- Reverse scars or other defects that arise after cancer surgery
- Renew self-confidence
- Spur hope in completing cancer treatment, and that positively affects the prognosis
- Improve self-image and quality of life; studies have shown most women are happy with their decision
With all procedures, it’s important to have realistic expectations and goals for treatment. Some scar lines never completely go away. Breast sensation can be affected. There are trade-offs, but most of Dr. Kwan’s patients feel these lingering effects are minor when compared to the improvement in their quality of life and wellbeing.