Breast reconstruction is a cosmetic surgical procedure designed to restore the form and shape of all or part of the breasts, typically after a mastectomy, also known as a breast removal. Breast reconstruction can be performed on one or both breasts, depending on the type of mastectomy received. It may also include a separate procedure used to reconstruct the areola and nipple area. The choice to undergo a mastectomy is a personal one, and it can often be a huge source of emotion. Some women feel like they need something other than basic padding to complete their aesthetic; others receive the procedure because they don’t want to feel like they have lost a part of their bodies. Whatever the reason, the angst surrounding mastectomies is often used to illustrate why the field of cosmetic surgery exists. Women who receive mastectomies have higher suicide rates and rates of relapse. They also have a hard time functioning in daily life. Breast reconstruction has been shown to alleviate many of these symptoms. It doesn’t aid in curing a patient’s cancer, but it is essential to their recovery. There’s no reason to be ashamed about undergoing breast reconstruction. It’s not a sign of vanity. It is a vital procedure, and it has an enormous impact on a patient’s quality of life.
Breast reconstruction can be performed as part of a cancer treatment plan, or it can be the final step of a preventative measure. Some patients receive what is known as a prophylactic mastectomy, meant to remove the breasts when a patient is at high risk of developing cancerous growths, even before they receive a diagnosis. The procedure is considered an artform. It can be difficult for inexperienced surgeons to properly mimic the size and shape of a patient’s original breasts. They may hang differently. The areola and nipple could appear artificial. Everything is dependent on minute details, which is why many doctors spend half a lifetime perfecting their technique. The main goal is to ensure that the breasts appear natural and that there is no visible sign that a procedure was performed. There are several ways to accomplish this. Some surgeons prefer to use implants while others use autologous tissue taken from other parts of the body. Newer techniques that preserve the skin have been proven to be quite helpful in ensuring the proper aesthetic. Mastectomies can be unilateral or bilateral, meaning one or both breasts can be removed. In the case of unilateral mastectomies, the surgeon may alter the healthy breast to make sure both are symmetrical.