Breast cancer is probably one of the scariest words for modern women. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, and over 220,000 women are diagnosed every year in the United States. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. Because of these staggering facts and the widespread effects of breast cancer, it is important that women become educated about their potential risk, the process, and their survival.
Education is the most important weapon against breast cancer. About 95 percent of women will survive their battle with breast cancer, and most medical professionals attribute this to early detection. Patients who catch their cancer in the early stages have a significantly higher survival rate than those who are diagnosed in the later stages. Many people believe that cancer is being caught sooner because more women are being vigilant about their health and getting regular breast cancer screenings.
Having a Mastectomy
A mastectomy is performed for one of two reasons. The most common reason is as an effective treatment for breast cancer that has already developed. During a mastectomy, your breast tissue and glands are removed, eliminating the cancerous cells. Depending on how aggressive your cancer is, you may follow up with chemo and radiation treatment.
Other women choose to have a mastectomy as a preventative measure. Women with a high risk of developing breast cancer (a strong family history of breast cancer or a mutation in the BRCA1 gene or the BRCA2 gene) can choose to have a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy, which may involve the complete removal of both breasts.
Women who choose to have a prophylactic mastectomy often feel empowered; they are taking their fate into their hands. It gives them a sense of control over their destinies. However, many women often feel that a mastectomy for whichever reason robs them of their feminine identity. Women may struggle following a mastectomy to find confidence and satisfaction in their bodies. Some even comment that they feel less like a woman.
Reconstruction After a Mastectomy
Dr. Mesbahi believes it is important that every woman feels comfortable and confident in her body. Many women choose breast reconstruction after their mastectomy because of the psychological benefits it offers. Two types of breast reconstruction are available to you following your mastectomy.
- Implants are used to provide a restoration of significant volume. An expander is placed after your mastectomy that stretches the existing tissue to create a breast pocket over a period of weeks. A saline or silicone implant is then inserted to shape and add volume to the breast.
- Flap surgery uses patient-harvested tissue to create a modestly sized breast. The tissue is taken from the abdomen, back, or glutes. This technique recreates breasts that look and feel like your original breasts. DIEP flap techniques help preserve the integrity of the abdominal muscles.
Fat grafting may be combined with either technique to achieve the best, most natural-looking results possible. Fat grafting with implants can help create a better shape and smooth transitions. Fat grafting with flap surgery can help increase volume for a fuller breast.
Dr. Mesbahi works in tandem with your breast removal surgery to help ensure the least amount of scarring possible and the best cosmetic outcome. His goal is to develop a personal relationship with each of his breast reconstruction patients. Breast cancer is an emotional battle, and it is important you feel comfortable and confident with your surgeon to achieve breasts that restore the appearance of your body.
If you are undergoing a mastectomy and considering breast reconstruction to restore the look and feel of your breasts, schedule your consultation with Dr. Mesbahi today. Contact our office at (703) 287-8277 or fill out our online contact form for additional information.