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Breast Cancer Patients: Mastectomy and Reconstructive Surgery on Same Day

One of the most terrifying events that can happen to a woman is to be told she has breast cancer. The American Cancer Society predicts that almost a quarter of a million women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year.


With new advances in reconstruction surgery, a woman’s breast can retain its natural appearance while she undergoes treatment. In the past, a woman that had a mastectomy would have to wait to have reconstructive surgery. Today, however, both procedures, a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, can be done the same day. This makes the decision to have a mastectomy a bit easier for the woman who lives in the Los Angeles or Orange County area.


Kim Land who underwent a double mastectomy stated, “Knowing that I could have reconstructive surgery the same day the cancer removed, knowing that I would wake up and still have breasts,” made the decision easier for her.


How is this procedure accomplished?

Doctors are able to move tissue from parts of the body where it is not needed and place it in the breast area where the cancerous tissue was removed. Many women are please with the results because the tissue feels natural, not artificial.


Is this covered under my insurance?

There is a federal mandate currently in place that states if an insurance company covers a mastectomy, it must also cover reconstructive surgery. This type of breast surgery is not considered elective which is a great relief for women who should be focusing their attention on healing and fighting breast cancer.


Should I even have breast reconstruction surgery?

Women who are having surgery to treat breast cancer often choose breast reconstruction surgery. If you are considering having this procedure done, it is important to talk with the plastic surgeon before the mastectomy. This allows the surgical team the time to formulate the best plan for you.


Some important factors to consider:

  • Coping with cancer is hard enough. Some women don’t want to think about or talk about their breasts until the threat of cancer is removed. If this is the case for you, relax and know that reconstruction can occur at any time after surgery.
  • With the stress of having a mastectomy, additional surgery later is not appealing to some women. Now, reconstruction can occur at time same time as a mastectomy.
  • Scars from both the mastectomy and reconstruction will be visible wherever tissue was removed and replaced.
  • Even though the breast will look the same or similar as before surgery, the rebuilt breast will loose some sensation and feeling. Also, areas where tissue or skin were donated from other parts of the body might also loose feeling.
  • Healing can be affected by chemotherapy or radiation.
  • If a patient smokes or has diabetes or other health factors, the surgeon may suggest delaying the reconstruction for up to 2 months to allow for better healing.
  • Surgery on the unaffected breast may be suggested in order to match the reconstructed breast.


Having a full understanding of your options before surgery can help you decide what type of surgery is best for you and when to have that surgery.


How do I find out more about this type of procedure?

If you live in the Los Angeles or Orange County area and have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are considering a mastectomy, contact the board certified plastic surgeons at Orange County Plastic Surgery. The highly trained surgeons can walk you through all of the different options for breast reconstruction and surgery.

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