Breast cancer is something as a woman you hope never affects you. But if you’ve ever had to fight cancer, you know the physical and emotional toll it can take. Through reconstructive surgery, you can get back to looking and feeling more like yourself after a mastectomy. “Reconstruction is important for a sense of self confidence for women,” says Dr. Samina Wahhab, M.D., a plastic and reconstructive surgeon based in the Allentown area. While not everyone chooses reconstruction, a woman’s age shouldn’t be a concern. “The overall health of the patient is a factor, but age is not,” she says. You can put your mind at ease over the fear that the cancer will return due to reconstruction – studies have shown that’s not true. “It’s safe to reconstruct,” Wahhab says. “There’s no increased risk of recurrence due to reconstruction.”
There are two basic types of breast reconstruction. In the first type, the doctor uses tissue expanders followed by implants to rebuild the breast. In the second type, the breast is reconstructed using fat, skin and muscle from your own body. There may also be a need to have surgery on the other breast as well, to make the breasts look even – called symmetry. Wahhab says the procedure can be done at any time – right at the time of the mastectomy or at any point in the future. Regardless of when a woman chooses to have it done, breast reconstruction is covered by insurance. The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 mandates that a health-care insurer which covers mastectomies must also cover breast reconstruction. All of this would be discussed with you during the initial consultation, Wahhab says. She has seen a wide range of ages among her patients choosing to have breast reconstruction. Breast reconstruction is performed to re-create normal appearing anatomy and helps women by restoring the appearance of their own anatomy.
(Source: The Morning Call)