Bouncing Back After Cancer

4 min read

How Can Reconstructive Surgery Be Used To Rejuvenate My Appearance?

Recovery after cancer can sometimes be a matter of “it gets worse before it gets better” — especially when it comes to your looks. Treatments and surgeries take their toll, even years after remission has been achieved. 

Dr. Mesbahi offers several procedures that patients can use to refresh their appearance after fighting cancer. From treatments to refresh the face to literally building the body patients want, reconstructive surgery can help those who are recovering from cancer come full circle. 

What Is Cancer Reconstruction?

Dr. Mesbahi is known for his expertise in cancer reconstruction surgery. This type of surgery usually consists of breast reconstruction, which helps rebuild the breasts after mastectomy, and skin cancer reconstruction, which restores skin and removes lesions caused by skin cancer. 

Breast Reconstruction

Mastectomy, whether it’s a complete or partial removal of the breast, often leaves visible scars behind. Removal of lumps or tumors, also known as a lumpectomy, also results in visible scarring long after recovery is complete. 

Breast reconstruction helps restore the shape and size of breasts that were removed by cancer treatment. It can also correct issues with asymmetry or other cosmetic defects from a total or partial mastectomy or other types of treatment.

Breast reconstruction surgery can help women who have gone through breast cancer treatment reclaim their feminine physiques.
Breast reconstruction surgery can help women who have gone through breast cancer treatment reclaim their feminine physiques.

Breast reconstruction surgery can be done immediately after mastectomy or some time after mastectomy recovery. Dr. Mesbahi offers patients breast implants, which use silicone or saline materials to restore the breast shape, or DIEP flap surgery, which uses the patient’s fat for restoration. 

Breast Implants are typically done in a two-stage process that involves using a temporary device filled with saline water to expand the skin and muscles underneath the breast before the implant is placed. This typically results in shorter surgery and recovery times. 

DIEP flap surgery involves Dr. Mesbahi removing skin and fat from the patient’s abdomen and then using that to reconstruct the breasts. It is a longer surgery than implants but tends to leave the most natural look and feel. 

Skin Cancer Reconstruction

One of the first symptoms of skin cancer is the appearance of unsightly lesions. Many are easily removed, but some can grow to severely deform the skin and affect patients’ appearance. 

To help patients suffering from these effects, Dr. Mesbahi works with a Mohs surgeon—a dermatologist that specializes in skin cancer reconstruction that effectively removes all skin cancer without damaging other areas of the skin. 

Mohs surgery is highly precise and involves using a scalpel to remove thin layers of cancerous tissue until only healthy tissue remains. Dr. Mesbahi will then close the defect area using methods that ensure the best healing without further disfigurement. 

Dr. Mesbahi will also perform more complex reconstructive surgery if lesions from skin cancer are very large or highly visible.

Other Ways To Bounce Back

Fighting cancer takes its toll. Even after the battle is over, patients may be left with noticeable scarring or disfigurement from treatment and surgery. Long periods of chemotherapy or radiation can also leave many patients looking fatigued. 

There are a few procedures patients can use to help them truly get back to feeling like themselves again, ranging from non-invasive methods to more intensive procedures:

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing helps restore damaged skin. It is used to remove dark spots, wrinkles, scars, deep folds, and other skin defects for younger-looking skin and a refreshed appearance. 

Dr. Mesbahi will first cleanse the skin and apply an antibiotic ointment before the laser is used to remove thin layers of skin. This removal activates the skin’s own regenerative process, leading to the creation of new, healthy skin. 

Rhinoplasty

Known commonly as a nose job, rhinoplasty is used to correct defects in the shape and size of the nose. It can also be used to correct structural issues that directly affect breathing. 

Rhinoplasty is performed by either using an open incision, which is made along the columella (thin strip between the nostrils) to reshape the nasal structures. Dr. Mesbahi also offers patients a closed rhinoplasty, with incisions made along the inside the nostrils. 

Body Contouring

Getting back into shape after fighting cancer can sometimes take a little more work than just hitting the gym. Dr. Mesbahi offers fat grafting procedures that patients can use to achieve their body goals. 

Fat grafting can be used to enhance buttocks and as a filler for certain areas of the face. It essentially redistributes the fat from one area to another, creating the contours patients desire. 

Ready to learn more? Dr. Mesbahi has been recognized for his work in helping cancer patients bounce back via reconstructive surgery. Schedule a consultation soon by calling his office at 703-287-8277. 

Breast Reconstruction Before and After PhotosBreast 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.

Breast Cancer AwarenessIf you didn’t know that breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy is supposed to be covered by insurance, you aren’t alone. Many people do not know that in 1998, Congress signed The Women’s Health and Cancer Right Act (WHCRA) into law. This act requires that mastectomy benefits also cover:

  • Reconstruction of the breast that was removed by mastectomy
  • Surgery and reconstruction of the non-removed breast to create symmetry
  • Any external breast prostheses needed before or during the reconstruction

Many women diagnosed with breast cancer are unaware that these benefits are available to them. Worrying about restoring their bodies after treatment is an added stress that many women have trouble dealing with. To reduce stress on breast cancer patients, it is key to educate them about all of their options.  

In May of 2015, the Senate introduced the Breast Cancer Patient Education Act (BCPEA). This act requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to plan and implement a campaign that informs breast cancer patients about the coverage of breast reconstruction and other post-mastectomy options. Under federal law, women must be given access to educational materials on their rights to breast reconstruction.  

Breast Cancer Education

It is extremely important that women have access to thorough and correct information on their rights. The breast cancer battle is hard enough, and women shouldn’t have to stress about how they are going reclaim their bodies once their battle is over. Women should be able to focus on fighting their cancer and healing. Making sure that every woman is informed of her rights will help reduce stress and may increase the chances of survival.

The Breast Cancer Patient Education Act (BCPEA) of 2015 has not yet passed in the House nor the Senate. Congressional support is important to see the success of this bill. Contact your Congress representative and urge them to support this bill.

Breast Reconstruction With Dr. Mesbahi

Dr. Mesbahi knows that an integral part of the healing process for a woman after her mastectomy is breast reconstruction surgery. His goal is to help restore a woman’s feminine body while treating her with the kindness and respect she deserves.

 

If you are looking for a surgeon to perform your breast reconstruction, schedule a consultation with Dr. Mesbahi today. Contact our office at 703-287-8277 or fill out our online contact form here form more information.