Breast Reconstruction Surgery - Common Myths Revealed

Posted December 22, 2022
Learn about breast reconstruction myths

One of the most common reasons for a patient to have breast reconstruction surgery is because the person had a mastectomy to either prevent or treat breast cancer. Even though this is a procedure that is performed on a regular basis, a recent survey revealed that many women might not have received the proper amount of information to determine how the surgery would impact their physical, mental, and financial health.

Breast Reconstruction Surgery Results Revealed

In an online survey conducted by The Harris Poll, on behalf of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), over two thousand adults in the United States were surveyed regarding some common myths about breast reconstruction surgery (as well as some misconceptions about the treatment). The online survey was conducted from September 27th-29th, 2022 and the size of the survey was 2047 adults (ages 18+). There were a total of 1129 women include in the survey group.

One of the first statistics of note is that 54% of the women surveyed were not sure if they had any additional options beyond having breast implants placed in the body. In addition, 75% of the women surveyed did not know that breastfeeding after breast reconstruction is a possibility and 62% were unaware there is a possibility to regain breast sensation. Plus, 73% of the women taking part in the surgery were not sure if they would be the responsible party that would have to pay for the surgery (even though there is a federal law that requires insurance companies to cover the cost of post-mastectomy reconstructive surgery).

Breast Reconstruction Surgery Myths Debunked

Breast Reconstruction Surgery MythsThe results of this survey highlight the ongoing need for patients to receive easy to understand information when it comes to their options for breast reconstruction. The ability to receive clear information can have a major influence on whether or not a patient makes the decision to explore their treatment options.

When it comes to breast reconstruction surgery, many patients are under the impression that breast implants are their only option. While it is a viable option, it is not the only choice for patients as many plastic surgeons can perform breast reconstruction that uses tissue from the body of the patient to create a breast that looks natural. Some of the areas of the body where the tissue is taken from include the butt, abdomen, or back.

There is also the idea that the reconstruction of the breast is all that is involved for patients during the process. Beyond the physical changes made to the body during and after a mastectomy, there is also an emotional component to the procedure as many women go through a period of emotional changes following the surgery. The survey noted that 29% of women were unaware that they will experience a period of emotional adjustment after they have breast reconstruction surgery. It can be quite emotional for a person to look at their body in the mirror after a mastectomy and they might not be sure about their identity or sense of self.

In many ways, breast reconstruction is as much about the breasts as it is about how female patients feel about their appearance and how they now view themselves as a woman. The plastic surgeon and the medical team need to take the time to walk the patient through each step of the process by answering questions and being a support system for the person.

There are also some patients who have been treated in the past that are more than willing to share their story with new patients who are facing the prospect of having a mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery. Anyone who is interested in having the procedure should ask their surgeon if any former patients are open to sharing their story and serving as a mentor or guide for the new patient.

Breast Reconstruction Surgery – Help from a Professional Organization

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has made a commitment to informing, encouraging, and empowering women so they will better understand their options when it comes to breast reconstruction surgery. The ASPS encourages female patients to schedule a consultation appointment with an experienced and board-certified surgeon who is trained in performing the procedure. The consultation appointment is also the opportunity for the patient to ask questions and voice any concerns they have about breast reconstruction surgery. One question that should be voiced is asking to see “before and after” photos of actual patients treated in the past by the doctor. The viewing of these photos gives the new patient a better idea about the results they can expect to see when it comes to the appearance of their body after the surgery.

In addition, patients can feel confident about their choice of doctor if the surgeon is board-certified as this indicates the medical professional is properly trained and follows the highest guidelines when it comes to the safety standards performed in their medical office.

- MA


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