You will recall the plight of our fictitious “Mrs. D.” from our last blog. She was the lady who had been given a breast mastectomy due to cancer, and came to see Dr. Cicilioni at the clinic for her reconstruction.

Hundreds, actually thousands, of women face her same difficulty each year.

There is no question that a woman can attain beautiful breasts after her mastectomy from cancer. With today’s surgical sculpting techniques and information available, more women are realizing that they can have the surgery completed immediately.

Let’s take a look at the latest statistics: “The number of women undergoing immediate breast reconstruction after mastectomy has risen sharply in recent years, and most of this increase is due to implant-based reconstruction.”

In fact there has been an increase in implant use that has statistically risen to 203 per cent over the last few years.

These statistics  come from recent research led by Evan Matros, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

  • The numbers clearly reflect certain trends:
  • Dates the database covered = 1998-2008
  • Number of mastectomies studied = 178,600 mastectomies
  • Number Followed by Immediate Reconstruction = 51,400

Thus researchers concluded that the rate of immediate reconstruction after mastectomy increased from about 21% to 38% or an average increase of 5% per year.

1.  X Ray Vision

As far as the decision to have reconstruction done immediately, a large factor influencing this was the amount of radiation needed after the surgery. Ladies need to be careful they do not hamper their recovery by making the radiation therapy difficult for the technician and uncomfortable for them. Naturally, you will discuss this with your surgical team.

2.  Incision Decision

The analysis included both major types of reconstruction. Thus, the study included women who chose implants as well as women who chose autologous breast surgery. Autologous is defined as the use of a woman’s own abdominal tissue to create the breast mound.  Statisticians were a little surprised that implant surgery was up to 203 %, but the number of takers for the autologous choice remained about the same.

3.  Taking the Next Step

If you choose the autologous method of breast reconstruction, you and your surgeon will be presented with two options. The pedicle flap moves tissue through a tunnel under your skin, up into breast position. In contrast, in the free flap method, skin, blood vessels and muscle is freed from the abdomen and relocated on your chest with a new blood supply that is created with microsurgical techniques.

4.  Factors To Consider

Either type of the autologous choices will require more time and more recovery than selecting the implant option.  You and your doctor will have a deep and detailed consultation before chosing what will be bes for you.

If you are very thin, obese or a smoker, you might not be a candidate for either the pedicle or free flap surgeries.

5.  About That Measuring Tape

If you are scheduled for a mastectomy, and you are electing reconstruction, you should see Dr. Cicilioni before you have the mastectomy. That way you and the doctor will have measurements and scientific photographs to use guides for proportions as well as shaping and sizing your new or renewed appearance.

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