All about breast reconstruction

If you've been diagnosed with breast cancer, one of the issues that your doctor will discuss with you...

If you've been diagnosed with breast cancer, one of the issues that your doctor will discuss with you is the possibility for breast reconstruction surgery following a single or double mastectomy. Before you leap at the chance to restore your previous shape, make sure that you know everything about what reconstructive surgery means for you and your body. In most cases, it's the optimal choice for breast cancer survivors who don't want their surgery to define their bodies on a long-term basis.

What is it? When a doctor mentions reconstructive surgery, you probably have questions as to what exactly that means for you. Reconstruction simply means using plastic surgery to attain the same shape (or even an improved shape) after a mastectomy, which is the removal of one or both breasts as breast cancer treatment. A plastic surgeon would use implants in order to give the look and feel of breasts back to you following your successful battle with cancer, which is often an important step for survivors.

Reconstruction choices. If you've decided to go with breast reconstruction surgery, you have a few choices that you need to make. First, you'll need to decide when to have the augmentation done. Some are able to undergo reconstructive surgery as soon as the mastectomy is complete, while others will still need radiation, in which case the augmentation is delayed. You'll also have to decide with your plastic surgeon the type and size of breast implants you prefer. A competent surgeon will discuss all of your possible options with you.

Prep work. If you decide to move ahead with the surgery, you'll need to prepare yourself and your body. First, you'll need the OK from your primary physician and your oncologist to move ahead with your surgery. Ask your doctors about a surgeon who specializes in reconstruction for the best results. You'll also need to have a few consults to nail down your future plans and what to expect from your surgery. Finally, you can get ready to have your old shape back and feel more confident in your changed but stronger body!

If you're still looking for an Atlanta-based plastic surgeon, check out Kudzu for recommended surgeons to help you on your way.

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