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What Are the Pros and Cons of Breast Reconstruction after a Mastectomy?

Breast reconstruction after a mastectomy may prevent the need for any external prosthesis.
Breast reconstruction involves one or more surgical procedures after a mastectomy.
Article Details
  • Written By: Erik J.J. Goserud
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 13 December 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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When a malignant, or cancerous, mass is found on a person's breast, surgical measures may be taken in the best interest of the patient. Although these procedures may be successful in the removal of the cancerous tissue, they oftentimes leave a person aesthetically compromised as a removed breast or resulting scar may appear disfiguring. One option is breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, or breast removal. This procedure may be beneficial in restoring a realistically appearing artificial breast; however, a number of pros and cons should be considered before one undergoes such a decision.

The choice of whether to undergo such a procedure is obviously at the discretion of the patient. As is the case with any invasive procedure, there is a small risk of accident, injury, or death. For these reasons, numerous plastic surgeons should be consulted about possible options, and as much research as possible should ideally be done before a final decision is made about reconstruction after a mastectomy. The best way to make a decision is to weigh the pros and cons on a personal basis.

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Some pros of reconstruction after a mastectomy are the self-esteem and body image restoration that usually takes place. While wearing a bra, the reconstructed breast should appear balanced and symmetrical to the other breast. Breast reconstruction after a mastectomy may also prevent the need for any external prosthesis. Most of the pros revolve around aesthetic means; however, they may drive psychological well-being so should certainly be heavily considered.

The cons of such a procedure must also be considered. Such cons involve something going wrong during the procedure. Anesthesia is oftentimes used, and if misused, it may result in permanent damage or death. Typically, more than one procedure is needed, which increases recovery time and may temporarily decrease quality of life. In addition to this, the expense of the procedures tend to add up, especially if one's insurance does not cover breast reconstruction after surgery.

Scarring may also occur after the procedure, adding to the already difficult process of healing. Any significant wound requires time and energy to heal, and this may negatively impede other bodily functions. All of the named cons, as well as the briefly stated pros, should be considered before any definitive conclusion is made regarding reconstruction after a mastectomy. This is only a short overview of the many reasons people may make one decision or another, and this personal choice should be a deliberate one to ensure the best outcome.

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