Approximately 250 thousand American women each year are diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. With this number represents a majority of women that will require having a bilateral mastectomy in order to treat the cancer. Unfortunately, as many as 75% of all women who undergo a mastectomy are unaware of their reconstruction choices. Furthermore, a woman who is treated with radiation cannot be reconstructed using silicone breast implants, limiting their options even further.
Within the past ten years a relatively new procedure has been developed where a specialized plastic surgeon reconstructs a woman’s breast using fat and tissue from her buttocks. This treatment is called a Bilateral Delayed Breast Reconstructions.
Traditional breast reconstruction requires using implant skin expanders and reconstructing the breast with implants. However, this new procedure uses a woman’s own fat to give the fullness to her newly reconstructed breasts. The fat is harvested from around the lower portion of her buttocks and thighs.
There is somewhat of a divide between the surgeons who treat the cancer and the plastic surgeons who perform the reconstruction. Doctors that treat the cancer are more concerned as a matter of life and death and do not view breasts as being medically necessary in order to live. However, the emotional distress for a woman who has to lose her breast due to cancer can be an emotional life altering event. When a mastectomy is required, reconstruction should be included in the post and follow up treatment as soon as possible in order for the complete physical and emotional recovery of the patient.
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