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Breast Reconstruction Surgery Benefits & Disadvantages

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There are numerous options to look into when considering this type of surgery; you will find that you are facing the choice of prosthetic reconstruction or autogenous reconstruction. You may also have the choice of immediate or delayed surgery. To choose the best option for you it is best to consider the benefits of each procedure.

Immediate Reconstruction

Immediate reconstruction is performed directly after a mastectomy this allows for both procedures to be completed during one operation. Having one operation is also beneficial as you will not have to go under general anaesthetic on more than one occasion, general anaesthetic can sometimes cause reactions or complications, and therefore this risk will be reduced. You will find that your new breast is moulded straight away therefore leaving you with no period where you are missing a breast, many women opt for this as they do not like the idea of having no breast or having to use fake breasts. As this procedure is completed immediately following a mastectomy your surgeon will use your existing breast skin which could result in a much more natural outcome. You will also find that less scarring will occur, as only one operation is needed. Some women however do not qualify for immediate surgery if they are still undergoing treatment for cancer, as it may cause complications. The complications could impact upon your recovery and any future radiotherapy you may need. You will also find that the decision to have immediate reconstruction does not allow for a substantial time period where you can consider the right option for you, so you may find that rushing into the decision may cause you to be unhappy with the results.

Delayed Reconstruction

Delayed reconstruction is completed after your mastectomy and can allow a substantial time frame for you to consider every option available to you, this may offer a benefit as it can ensure that you make the right decision slowly and correctly. If you are being treated for cancer you will find that if you leave the reconstruction till after the treatment is complete that your breasts will heal quicker, and you will be at less risk of complications. Delayed reconstruction however may leave larger scars than immediate surgery, and will also require you to undergo two operations which can impact on the time you will require off work.

Prosthetic Procedure

This procedure uses implants to reconstruct the breast, these implants are usually fitted and often the size is adjusted over a number of weeks or months to ensure that your skin stretches correctly. This procedure is shorter than the second method, both in operating time and recovery time. As the breast is reconstructing using implants none of your tissue is used to recreate the breast like the other method. However you will need to have regular checkups where the implants may be adjusted in size which can be a lengthy process and the implants may not leave as natural a feeling as you would have liked.

Autogenous Procedure

This procedure is where the surgeon will use tissue from elsewhere on your body to reconstruct the breast. The tissue is usually taken from areas like the thighs, buttock or navel, and is then used to reconstruct the new breast. There are two methods associated with this procedure, these are the free flap procedure which allows for tissue to be removed from their original blood vessels and reattached to others in the chest, or the attached flap method which allows for tissue to be placed in the chest whilst still being attached to its original blood vessels. This procedure uses your own natural tissue so therefore will provide the most natural look and feel, the tissue will adapt naturally and will add to the natural feel and shape of the breast. However there can be some disadvantages to the procedure, this surgery is considered a major operation and you should ensure that you are as fit and healthy as possible for any type of surgery to reduce any risks or complications. As you will have tissue removed from elsewhere on the body you will have added wounds to look after, this can increase the risk of infection and the length of your recovery time. You should consider as well that if the blood vessels are not reattached correctly then you may need to undergo additional surgery to eliminate the issue. You should also note that although these may be considered as extreme disadvantages all of the medical professionals and surgeons are trained to deal with any problem which might occur, as well as reducing the risk of these complications occurring.

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