Answering Your Questions About Breast Reconstruction

woman holding breast cancer awareness ribbon

Breast reconstruction is undoubtedly one of the most transformative and life-changing procedures in plastic surgery. As a board-certified plastic surgeon serving Westchester, Long Island, and Manhattan, NY, Dr. Scott Newman sees firsthand the effect breast reconstruction has on his patients’ confidence.

As you explore your options for reconstruction surgery, you likely have many questions about the process and what to expect. You are not alone. In this blog post, we will answer a few of the most common questions about breast reconstruction to help you feel more confident as you take your next steps.

Which type of breast reconstruction is best?

Ultimately, the “best” type of breast reconstruction depends on what is best for you.

Breast reconstruction options include implant reconstruction and flap (autologous) reconstruction. Each approach offers benefits:

  • Breast implants make customizing your result easier and can be replaced later on as your body and cosmetic goals evolve.
  • Flap (autologous) reconstruction uses your body’s own tissue, so your results look and feel natural and age naturally along with your body.

Your best option will depend on your long-term goals, existing tissue, and other unique factors. Dr. Newman will work closely with you to make sure you feel confident in your path forward.

Is breast reconstruction painful?

You can expect some soreness and swelling after any procedure, but this is temporary. Tightness, discomfort, and fatigue are also common in the first couple of weeks following surgery.

Today’s surgical approaches work to keep discomfort to a minimum. For example, tissue expanders help you comfortably transition from a mastectomy to a larger breast size by gradually stretching your skin over time. This makes recovery after surgery faster, easier, and more comfortable for the right candidates.

Can I get breast reconstruction after radiation or chemotherapy?

Yes, you can reconstruct your breasts after this type of treatment. It is a myth that women who have received radiation therapy are unable to receive reconstruction surgery. (Learn about this myth and more in our previous blog post.)

However, some types of procedures may be better for you than others. Radiation therapy affects your breast tissue and its ability to heal, so it’s often best to opt for autologous reconstruction. This approach uses your own tissues and provides a lower risk of complications than implants.

Is breast reconstruction covered by insurance?

Yes, it is. Under the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998, health insurance plans that offer mastectomy coverage must also provide coverage for reconstructive surgery of both breasts. This includes reconstructing the affected breast and cosmetic adjustments to the opposite breast to make sure they appear symmetrical and natural.

Can I have breast reconstruction done at the same time as my mastectomy?

Yes, you can. In fact, you have many options for the timing of your reconstruction. You may choose to have it performed at the time of your mastectomy, in stages both during and after your mastectomy, or delayed until whenever you are ready.

How long does it take to heal after breast reconstruction?

Healing time varies depending on the type of procedure, when it is done, and whether it is performed in stages. In general, most women return to work and other usual activities after about 6 to 8 weeks.

Rest assured that you do not have to go through your breast reconstruction journey alone. You have expertise, compassion, and support available to you every step of the way. If you would like to learn more about your options from a specialist considered one of the best plastic surgeons in New York, please contact us online or call (914) 423-9000 (Westchester), (516) 882-1020 (Long Island), or (212) 472-6100 (Manhattan).

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