Among women, the leading form of cancer throughout the world is breast cancer. In fact, breast cancer makes up around 25% of all cases found. These days, the survival rate for those diagnosed with breast cancer is very high. However, the treatment is intense and most of the time a mastectomy is required. Some people who are at higher risk of developing cancer have a mastectomy as a preventative measure. It’s hard to say how a woman will react to losing a breast. Therefore, it’s best to know about all your options and be able to make an educated decision about how to proceed. Many women choose to have breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy, but it doesn’t have to occur on the same day. When getting breast reconstruction surgery, there are things that you should consider beforehand. In this week’s blog, we’ll go over options, cost, and recovery.
Breast Reconstruction Options
First, it’s important to sit down with your doctor and discuss your options. Breast reconstruction is a lot different than a cosmetic enhancement. There is the option to get implants which can be filled with saline or silicone gel. Typically, silicone gel has a more natural feel but can also be harder to detect ruptures. On the other hand, saline is not harmful to the body in case of a rupture. But, saline implants can also show more rippling under the skin. The other option is a tissue flap procedure. For this procedure, the surgeon takes tissue from another part of the body such as the abdomen or back and uses that for reconstruction. Usually, flap procedures last a lifetime and are more popular as a result. In addition, tissue from certain areas of the body is very similar to breast tissue.
Also, there are different ways to replace the nipple if you decide to. Nipple reconstruction is a procedure that can be done a couple months after the initial surgery. The surgeon will either use the surrounding tissue to form a nipple or take tissue from a donor site. Conversely, some women choose to have nipple tattoos. The most realistic looking way to tattoo a nipple is a 3D nipple tattoo. Of course, some women will choose something meaningful to them like a star or heart.
Breast Reconstruction Cost
The cost of breast reconstruction varies depending on the route you decide. For breast implants, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 per breast without insurance. For tissue flap breast reconstruction, each breast can range from $25,000 to $50,000 without insurance. Most of the time, insurance companies will cover reconstruction after a mastectomy. Keep in mind, that there can be additional costs. For instance, if you decide to get breast implants they will have to replaced every 10 to 15 years. A nipple tattoo can range from $200 to $600 depending on the artist.
Breast Reconstruction Recovery
After surgery, you should be aware of what your recovery will be like and what to expect. Usually, you’ll feel tired and sore for about 2 weeks, but even longer for flap surgery. Most of the time, you’ll be able to go home within a few days. Drains are sometimes used to catch extra fluid from the surgery site. If so, a doctor will show you how to empty it, and give instructions before you leave the hospital. It’s important to wear support garments while healing, ask your doctor what kind and how long to wear it for. Don’t be alarmed if bruises take a while to fade, it’s normal and could take up to eight weeks.