Modern surgical technology makes it possible to reconstruct a natural-looking breast after mastectomy (breast removal) for cancer or other diseases. The procedure is commonly begun, and sometimes completed, immediately following mastectomy, so that the patient wakes with a new breast mound instead of no breast at all. Alternatively, reconstruction may begin years after mastectomy.
Women whose cancer seems to have been eradicated with mastectomy are the best candidates for breast reconstruction. Those with health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure and those who smoke are advised to wait. Others prefer to postpone surgery as they come to terms with having cancer, consider the extent of the procedure, or explore alternatives.
There are several ways to reconstruct the breast, both with and without implants; Dr. Berger will work together with you, as well as the surgeon performing the mastectomy and your oncologist (cancer doctor) in deciding which is the best for you.
In certain circumstances, surgery may be required in stages. Health insurance usually covers all the necessary procedures, including surgery to the opposite breast to create symmetry.