The main goal of reconstruction is resumption of normal social and professional activities as quickly as possible after treatment for breast cancer. This primarily means being able to wear different styles of clothes without having to worry about the look or appearance of her breasts and in particular the décolleté area.
Following a mastectomy, breast reconstruction can significantly improve a woman’s self-image and self-esteem. She can again feel feminine, facilitating a return to normal sexual activity. The changing emotions of fear, dismay and depression may be dampened or even overcome.
Especially after a delayed reconstruction, a patient may also feel more attractive, helping her as a woman, wife and mother fulfill her different social roles and professional activities. In addition, with the passage of time, hopefully she will be reminded less and less about the initial treatment for cancer as a result of the improved appearance of her breast(s).
Some points worth considering about surgical breast reconstruction include:
- Regardless of the type of reconstruction, you will have to undergo more surgery. This means more discomfort, with additional risks and possible complications.
- You will be off work for longer and unable to attend to your family.
- If you are unlucky enough to have a complication, it will take more time for you to recover.
- There may be more scars.
- With additional surgery, higher expenses may be incurred, depending on your personal insurance plan.
- You need to have realistic expectations about the surgical results that can be achieved.
- The reconstruction, no matter how good it is, will never replace your natural breast.
- For implant based breast reconstruction, one should be aware that the longer the implant is in place, the more likely it is that complications may arise.
If you decide to proceed with surgical breast reconstruction, two more important issues have to be considered:
- The timing of your breast reconstruction and the number of operations required
- The surgical technique that suits you best