A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (read the article here) has shown that prophylactic breast removal, or removing the breast before a patient develops breast cancer, can drastically reduce the chances of that patient developing breast cancer in the future.
Having both of your breasts removed, or having a healthy breast removed when the other breast is affected, may seem like a scary thought, but for many women carrying the breast cancer gene, early breast removal can be a wise and prudent choice. And with the advancements in breast reconstruction, these women can have normal-looking and healthy breasts even after a mastectomy.
Women should know that choosing prophylactic breast removal does not mean they have to live without breasts or with a prosthesis for the rest of their lives. I’ve helped many of my Alabama breast surgery patients reclaim their bodies after cancer through breast reconstruction. Here are 2 methods of breast reconstruction I offer my patients. Both can produce healthy and attractive breasts after mastectomy.
- Autologous tissue reconstruction: Skin and fat are taken from a donor site on the patient’s body and used to rebuild the breast. Often the skin and fat are taken from the abdomen, called a TRAM Flap.
- Prosthetic/implant reconstruction: Instead of using tissue from the patient’s body, I will use an implant to restore the breast. Once the breast skin is prepared during surgery, the procedure is similar to how I perform breast augmentation.
Breast reconstruction, either using a patient’s own tissue or an implant, can help repair the emotional and physical damage associated with mastectomy, even for women who choose to have a preventative mastectomy. They too can struggle emotionally with mastectomies even though they have not yet experienced cancer. Fortunately, women who choose prophylactic breast removal and undergo breast reconstruction can still have beautiful breasts in addition to greater peace of mind.