Post-Mastectomy Reconstruction

Post-Mastectomy Reconstruction: Reclaiming the Feminine Physique in Charlotte and Huntersville.

Innovation in breast cancer treatments and early detection offer renewed hope to those diagnosed with breast cancer. Unfortunately, often the treatment of this aggressive cancer requires a similarly aggressive treatment. The removal of natural breast tissue through mastectomy alters the body forever, creating a constant reminder for patients of the effects of the surgery.  While patients often return to full strength and health post-surgery, many find that the end result of a mastectomy makes their own body feel foreign. After a difficult battle with cancer, this new state often serves as a painful reminder of a painful fight.

While the alteration may seem merely cosmetic, the symbolic nature of the breasts as a feminine attribute holds great meaning for many women. Breasts are one of the first harbingers of womanhood during puberty, and they provide maternal nourishment after giving birth. Without the ability to fill out a dress in quite the same way she’s used to, a woman often feels the visceral loss of her sexual identity. The absence of breasts may cause concern about appealing to her partner. While not every mastectomy patient experiences this loss in the same way, many patients find body confidence lowered as a result of the removal.

Breast reconstruction surgery offers a tangible way for mastectomy patients to enter the post-cancer phase of their life.  Often this reconstructive procedure offers patients a sense of closure for a trying time.

Through reconstruction surgery, plastic surgeons like Dr. Miles in Charlotte are able to reconstruct the breasts with existing natural tissue or with implants. During a consultation at his Huntersville office, Dr. Miles will take time to identify the best procedure for the individual patient based on body composition and skin type.

Younger reconstruction patients often benefit from reconstruction with a breast implant. Implant surgery allows other structures of the body, such as the abdominal muscles, to stay intact. Implants also work best for double mastectomies as well as patients who electively undergo removal as a preventive measure.

The use of natural tissue requires the surgeon to remove fat from the lower abdomen or back to shape into the natural form of the breast.  Even when using natural tissues, an implant may still be utilized to achieve symmetry with the existing breast.

Take time to discuss surgical options and expectations with your surgeon. Experienced surgeons like Dr. Miles in Charlotte aim to achieve natural results during reconstruction surgery, however there will always be differences between the reconstructed bustline and the natural breasts. A certain amount of asymmetry is to be expected with the surgery, and there is a difference in texture between implants and natural breasts. Developing clear expectations for results and recovery can help keep the reconstruction process a positive and rejuvenating experience for patients.

Existing support groups in the Charlotte area can help those undergoing reconstructive surgery to cope as well as to understand the different options available post-mastectomy. Talking to someone who has undergone reconstructive surgery can help inform patient choices and also help build realistic expectations.

By offering the opportunity to control the appearance of the body, the healing process becomes complete. Restoring one of the most feminine attributes can restore body confidence and help patients feel whole again. Reconstruction procedures are not right for everyone, it’s a personal choice that every mastectomy patient must make for herself. If you are considering breast reconstruction in the Charlotte area, set up a consultation with Dr. Miles to understand your options and make the decision that is best for you and your body.

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