Possible Risks Associated With Breast Augmentation & Reconstruction Following Mastectomy


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Possible Risks Associated With Breast Augmentation & Reconstruction Following Mastectomy

Submitted by: Katie Perry

Some women diagnosed with breast cancer undergo a mastectomy procedure, and may choose to undergo breast reconstruction, which is a form of breast augmentation. Reconstruction surgery rebuilds the breast mound to restore a feminine appearance and contouring to one or both breasts. However, the reconstructive effort can be surgically complex and carries with it a number of potential risks that a woman should carefully consider before undergoing any breast surgery. The most common risks include:

? The likelihood of having to undergo multiple operations and the general risk this poses

? Loss of sensation in the reconstructed breast(s)

? The development of psychological and emotional issues surrounding breast reconstruction

Multiple Operations

Depending on a patient?s specific circumstances, there is a possibility that she will need to undergo several surgeries over a period of time. This is especially true for women who require delayed reconstruction, which involves performing the reconstructive effort several months after mastectomy and radiation treatment. For delayed reconstruction patients, the largest risk surrounding multiple procedures involves the effects that radiation can have on healthy, non-cancerous tissue cells prior to the final reconstructive efforts. These effects can lead to poor wound healing and a greater risk for infection.

Undergoing multiple surgeries also means that a patient must go under general anesthesia each time. Anesthesia, while generally safe, causes a medically induced coma that has its own side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, and can take a physical toll on the body.

Loss of Sensation

Numbness in the breast tissue is normal following breast reconstruction, but there are some cases in which patients will not regain their breast sensitivity. This is due to the detachment of nerves with the removal of cancerous breast tissue. A lack of sensitivity may be particularly evident with reconstructed nipples, which may not physically respond to touch or temperature changes.

Psychological Challenges

Dealing with an initial cancer diagnosis brings about significant emotional and psychological challenges, which may be compounded after mastectomy. The removal of one or both breasts, symbols of femininity, can adversely affect a woman?s body image and level of self-esteem. As a result, some patients develop anxiety and/or depression, lose interest in sex, become more self conscious, and feel that their overall quality of life has diminished.

Undergoing breast reconstruction can mitigate these issues for most patients, but for others, the reconstructive effort itself can cause distress. Depression and anxiety may persist or intensify, and a heightened concern about the appearance of reconstructed breasts may strain sexual activity, particularly in the small percentage of women who develop complications following the breast rebuilding procedure.

Additional Risks

As with any breast surgery, additional risks for breast augmentation and reconstruction after mastectomy can include excessive bleeding, scarring, capsular contracture, and infection.

For the Best Overall Results

Both mastectomy and reconstruction procedures are highly individualized surgeries and must be tailored to the individual patient. Patients considering breast reconstruction after mastectomy should consult a highly skilled plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, who can help her determine which surgical approaches are best suited to her medical treatment and appearance goals. Additionally, patients who select a surgeon with extensive experience in both oncologic breast surgery and plastic/reconstructive surgery may be better served. A surgeon with such training and education can provide a patient with both surgical breast cancer care and augmentation/reconstruction in one setting, effectively reducing the confusion and hassle of consulting and coordinating multiple specialists.

About the Author: Katie Perry is an online content editor in the Tampa Bay area. She posts articles about plastic surgery topics and procedures including breast augmentation, breast implants, and more.

Source: www.isnare.com

Permanent Link: http://www.isnare.com/?aid=1785608&ca=Medical+Business

It’s great to read that someone at least knows the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’, isn’t it? Amongst our readers, this article really turned the tide on the debate that was taking place.

Many readers have given us feedback to say they are going to tackle their mastectomy in a very different way as a result. Will you?


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