Post-mastectomy breast reconstruction is a key component in cancer care and can help improve quality of life and restore a sense of self for the patient. Post-mastectomy reconstruction is protected by federal law which requires insurance companies to cover the cost of reconstruction. Consultation with the plastic surgeon should occur early in the surgical planning process and patients should be well informed of their options. An implant-based reconstruction typically proceeds with immediate placement of a tissue expander at the time of mastectomy, which is then filled over the course of several weeks postoperatively in order to create a suitable pocket for placement of the final implant at a second surgery. Patients may also opt for a tissue-based autologous reconstruction. These procedures are technically more challenging to perform and have a longer postoperative recovery period but carry the advantage of a natural look and feel to the breast after the reconstruction is completed. Patients may elect for nipple reconstruction, tattoos, contralateral symmetry procedures, and oncoplastic techniques as their individual needs dictate. Patients undergoing post-mastectomy radiation may benefit from delayed reconstruction and/or tissue-based techniques.
KeywordsBreast reconstruction Mastectomy Implant Tissue expander Autologous Oncoplastic
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