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Weighing the Pros, Cons of Breast Reconstruction Surgery

November 01, 2018

Deciding whether or not to have breast reconstruction surgery following breast cancer is a very personal choice. How do you decide? Dr. Alan Babigian, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Hartford Hospital, has some guidance. 

Q: How do you know if you are likely candidate for breast reconstruction?

A: Most people who undergo a mastectomy are candidates for reconstruction if they choose. The decision to undergo reconstruction is a personal one, and a consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon the best way to find out if it is a reasonable option for you.

Q: Are there benefits to having immediate reconstructive surgery at the same time as cancer surgery versus waiting?

A: The main benefit to immediate reconstruction is that the majority of your surgical treatment is done at once, thereby eliminating the need for multiple procedures and healing times. However, it is important to know that it is still very possible to do delayed reconstruction, so reconstruction is also a viable option for those patients that chose to undergo just their cancer care first.

Q: Are there any new reconstructive options that are available to women today?

A: Reconstructive techniques are constantly evolving, and there are multiple new implant styles and flap techniques that were not available to patients in the past. Again, it’s important to have a consultation with a reconstructive surgeon to determine which option is best for you.

Q: Can reconstructive surgery interfere with chemotherapy or radiation treatments?

A: Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are important parts of breast cancer care, and while they can make reconstructive surgery more complex, we always try to ensure that our reconstructive procedures do not take precedence over proper cancer care. We constantly work as a team with our other specialists to ensure that the cancer is treated properly first, and we also work with them to minimize the risks of complications with reconstructive surgery.

If you would like to learn more about reconstructive breast surgery at Hartford Hospital, call “Cancer Connect” at 1.855.255.6181.