Concerns over the appearance and feel of post-mastectomy breasts should not hold you back from the successful recovery you deserve. Breast augmentation treatment in New York City at the offices of Dr. Edmund Kwan aids in your journey to feeling and looking like “you” again. We’re honored to be a partner in your recovery, and work with your oncologist as a part of your multi-disciplinary cancer care team.
A word on timing
Coordination with all members of your cancer treatment team is vital. A Harris Interactive study released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found only 19 percent of women surveyed understood how timing for breast cancer treatment and for breast reconstruction significantly impacts their options and results. One can’t turn back the clock, so it’s important to discuss reconstruction with your oncologist from the start. As your surgical partner, Dr. Kwan and other members of the treatment team want to help you make an informed decision but ultimately, when you opt to move forward is up to you.
- Immediate reconstruction – Performed at the same as the mastectomy. One or both breasts are rebuilt with tissue from another part of your body (“donor tissue”) or with an implant. Again, the choice is yours.
- Delayed reconstruction – Surgery is completed after both the mastectomy and other therapies like radiation and chemotherapy are done. There is some risk of therapeutic treatments altering the color, texture, and other features of the reconstructed breast(s).
- Staged reconstruction – This approach allows reconstructive surgery to be completed in phases; some reconstruction may be done during the mastectomy and lumpectomy. Additional reconstruction follows the completion of other therapies.
We respect that some women don’t want to make decisions about reconstruction while balancing cancer treatments. If this sounds like you, delayed reconstruction may be the best option. A delay in rebuilding your breast may also be suggested, should you smoke or use other tobacco products, or if you have other health problems. Smoking cessation at least two months before reconstructive surgery is generally preferred to increase the odds of successful, healthy healing (with no surprises). If, at diagnosis, it’s known that radiation will be necessary as part of your cancer treatment plan, the types of immediate reconstruction available to you may be limited. Depending on your approach to reconstruction, radiation can increase risks and diminish the odds of your rebuilt breast(s) feeling and looking natural. As a Board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in reconstructive and cosmetic procedures, Dr. Kwan is well-equipped to inform you about the risks and potential outcomes of each option, and of immediate, delayed, and phased approaches. In some cases, he may also recommend that the other breast be reshaped to attain symmetry with the reconstructed breast. Techniques may involve either reducing or enlarging its size, or surgically lifting the other breast.
With all procedures it’s also important to have realistic expectations. Studies have shown that reconstruction, when in the hands of a skilled medical professional such as Dr. Kwan, is safe and doesn’t cause breast cancer to “come back.” Should cancer return, the reconstructed breasts won’t make it any more difficult for the oncologist to detect and treat it. The rebuilt breast, however, may not feel exactly the same as the natural, pre-treatment breast. Sensation can improve over time. Scars also fade over time, but may still be visible. It’s also hard to reconstruct the natural droop of the original breast, though using donor tissue or fat transfer may be preferred to “recreate” the sag caused by gravity and the passage of time. A breast that’s reconstructed with an implant doesn’t gain or lose weight when you do. If you gain weight post-cancer treatment, exchanging the original implant for a larger one may help to restore natural-looking balance. Be aware that swelling may cause the reconstructed breast to appear much larger than your other breast. This is normal. As the surgical site heals, swelling will subside and be in proportion with the other breast.
Schedule (201) 947 3636 a complimentary consultation at the Manhattan, Flushing, or New Jersey office to discuss your options: augmentation with breast implants or flap-based reconstruction. The latter option uses purified fat from another part of your body to rebuild the volume and shape of your breast. Many factors are considered before moving forward with a technique, including the size and location of the cancer and the extent of your cancer surgery.