If you’ve recently had a mastectomy, or are planning on having one in the near future, there are some common myths about breast reconstruction in the New York City area that you should be aware of.
This procedure can serve as an integral part of the recovery process, helping you to restore your self-image, and understanding the facts versus the myths can help you prepare for your surgery.
Myth: Women who undergo mastectomy lose too much skin for surgeons to perform breast reconstruction immediately.
In most cases, the breast surgeon can save a significant amount of breast skin at the time of surgery, so I can perform breast reconstruction immediately after a mastectomy. This “Direct to implant” method can be performed using either saline or silicone breast implants. As a result, many women experience a faster recovery and may even be able to avoid the need for additional surgery.
Myth: After a mastectomy, women are no longer candidates for breast enhancement with fat grafting.
Breast reconstruction using fat grafting can be an option for certain women. In some cases, for example after a lumpectomy, the breast may be somewhat misshapen. Fat taken from the abdomen or thighs can be injected into the “dent” in the breast to fill in for the missing tissue. Fat grafting is also used to complement some cases of breast reconstruction by implant.
In other cases, without the use of implants, I may perform a TRAM or “Tummy Tuck” flap, where I remove excess skin and fat from your lower abdomen and use it to reshape your breasts. Women who are good candidates for this method typically are very pleased with their breasts and the additional benefit of a flatter stomach.
Myth: Breast reconstruction isn’t covered by health insurance.
Due to the Federal Breast Reconstruction Law, group health insurance plans are required to provide coverage for reconstruction of the breast on which a mastectomy has been performed. In addition, this law stipulates that these insurance plans must cover surgery and reconstruction of the other breast to produce a symmetrical appearance.