After undergoing a mastectomy for breast cancer, many women decide to undergo reconstruction either immediate or at a later date. To create symmetry, either a tissue expander and later a permanent silicone gel implant, or an autologous tissue transfer may be performed. The risks of the reconstruction include: bleeding, hematoma, infections, flap necrosis, need for revision surgery, pulmonary embolus, pain, and severe scarring. Scarring is Unpredictable and can include: hypertrophic, keloids, widespread, hyper or hypopigmented scars. Future complications of the implant may include: rupture, calcification, capsular contracture, malposition, bottoming out, and need for re-operation.
A Answers (2)
Stuart Linder, MD, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, answered
It is important to know that your breasts will look different after surgery. Your new breast may feel firmer and look rounder or flatter than your other breast. Some women have surgery on the other breast to make them look as much alike as possible. Other women find that wearing a bra hides the differences.
The incisions will leave scars on your breasts. These will fade with time. The surgeon will try to make incisions that leave as few scars as possible.
Some women choose to get a breast implant first and have tissue flap surgery later, when they feel stronger or have more time.
In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lifted restrictions on the sale of silicone breast implants for both reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. Studies done between 1992 and 2006 did not find evidence of a link between silicone implants and connective tissue diseases or cancer. At this time, silicone breast implants have no known risks of cancer or other diseases.
Federal law requires insurance companies that cover mastectomy for breast cancer to also cover breast reconstruction. Check with your insurance company to find out what your costs will be. If you are considering a silicone implant, you will want to find out if your insurance will pay for the cost of follow-up MRIs.
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