Further Considerations For Breast Reconstruction Surgery

By: Dave Stringham

You may wish to undergo a preoperative mammogram and another one 6 months to one year after implantation to establish a baseline.

Interference with Mammography-
The implant may interfere with finding breast cancer during mammography and also may make it difficult to perform mammography. Therefore, it is essential that you tell your mammography technologist that you have an implant before the procedure. The technologist can use special techniques to minimize the possibility of rupture and to get the best possible views of the breast tissue.

Because the breast is squeezed during mammography, it is possible for an implant to rupture during the procedure. More x-ray views are necessary with these special techniques; therefore, women with breast implants will receive more radiation. However, the benefit of the mammogram in finding cancer outweighs the risk of the additional x-rays.

Distinguishing the Implant from Breast Tissue During Breast Self-Examination-
You should perform breast self-examination monthly on your implanted breast. In order to do this effectively, you should ask your surgeon to help you distinguish the implant from your breast tissue. Any new lumps or suspicious lesions (sores) should be evaluated with a biopsy. If a biopsy is performed, care must be taken to avoid puncturing the implant.

Long Term Effects-
The long term safety and effectiveness of breast implants have not been studied; however, INAMED Aesthetics is monitoring the long term (i.e., 10 year) chance of implant rupture, reoperation, implant removal, and capsular contracture (hardening of the tissues around the implant). INAMED Aesthetics is also conducting mechanical testing to assess the long-term likelihood of implant rupture. We will update this brochure with this information and timeframes later.

Capsule Procedures-
You should be aware that closed capsulotomy, the practice of forcible squeezing or pressing on the fibrous capsule around the implant to break the scar capsule is not recommended as this may result in breakage of the implant.

The breast reconstruction process may begin at the time of your mastectomy (immediate) or weeks to years afterwards (delayed).

Immediate reconstruction means that the procedure begins at the same time as the mastectomy. It is important to know that any type of surgical breast reconstruction may take several steps to complete. Two potential advantages to immediate reconstruction are that your reconstruction process is already underway when you wake up from the mastectomy, and there may be a cost savings in combining the mastectomy procedure with the first stage of the reconstruction.

However, there may be a higher risk of complications with immediate reconstruction, and your initial operative time and recuperative time may be longer. A potential advantage to delayed reconstruction is that you can delay your reconstruction decision and surgery until other treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, are completed.

Delayed reconstruction may be advisable if your surgeon anticipates healing problems with your mastectomy, or if you just need more time to consider your options. There are medical, financial and emotional considerations to choosing immediate versus delayed reconstruction. Talk with your plastic surgeon about the options available in your individual case.

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Dave Stringham is the President of LookingYourBest.com an online resource for plastic surgery procedures. Learn more about breast reconstruction and other plastic surgery procedures.

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