By now, everyone has seen pink ribbons decorating cars, signs, and “Walk for the Cure” t-shirts. October encourages communities to donate funds, spread awareness, and support women surviving breast cancer. But many women–even those living with the disease–are unaware of their options. We’re raising awareness this month by sharing these little-known facts about breast reconstruction.

4 Things You May Not Know about Breast Reconstruction

  1. woman on beachIt’s covered by insurance. Many women are unaware of their breast reconstruction options. Reconstruction isn’t cosmetic surgery. In fact, thanks to The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act, insurance policies are required by law to cover the cost of both mastectomies and reconstruction procedures. This coverage also pays for surgery to restore symmetry in the event of a unilateral mastectomy (the removal of a single breast).
  2. You don’t always need implants. When you talk to Dr. Brantner about breast reconstruction, he can recommend the best option based on your health, healing, and desired outcome. Many women get spacers at the time of their mastectomy, followed by saline or silicone implants. Others prefer taking tissue from the back or abdomen to reconstruct breast tissue. In the hands of a skilled physician, both techniques can result in full, natural-looking breasts.
  3. There may be a time gap. Some women have the option of reconstructing the breasts at the same time as their mastectomy. This may allow their plastic surgeon to preserve the skin of the breast for a more natural-looking reconstruction. Other women wait for reconstructive surgery, either to give themselves time to consider their options or because of medical reasons like radiation therapy.
  4. Reconstruction makes a big difference in emotional recovery. Each woman has her own experience, and no one can make her reconstruction decisions for her. But many patients find that breast reconstruction helps them overcome emotional hurdles during the recovery process. Reconstruction can go a long way towards helping you “feel like you again.”

If you have a question about breast reconstruction options, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Brantner’s Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery office in East Tennessee.