October 19th is National Breast Reconstruction Day. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States and one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Surgery to treat breast cancer often results in significant deformity of the breast leading to a psychological impact and decreased quality of life.
Research has shown that breast reconstruction is attributed to patient’s improved self-esteem and sense of well being. One of my favorite procedures as a plastic surgeon is breast reconstruction. Being able to restore the anatomy and aesthetics of the female breast is a very gratifying procedure.
Techniques of breast reconstruction have continued to evolve and improve over the last several years, yielding more natural and aesthetic results. In approaching patients with breast reconstruction, my goal is reconstructing breasts that look to have undergone augmentation and not mastectomy. Mastectomy scars should be strategically placed to hide or camouflage the scar. Anatomically shaped implants restore the natural shape of the breast. Fat grafting as an adjunct adds volume in deficient areas.
There is no one- size- fits -all approach with breast reconstruction and surgical treatment of the breast, including the mastectomy, should be tailored based on patient’s anatomy, desires, and oncological management of breast disease.
To achieve reconstruction of aesthetic breast, a comprehensive and coordinated approach with the breast surgeon is desired. Reconstruction should be a topic that underscores a woman’s entire journey through cancer recovery, signifying a return to self and sense of feeling whole.