Health: Breast Reconstruction – Restoring self-esteem through plastic surgery

Pink October is the month dedicated to breast cancer awareness. Born in the USA in the 1990s, this movement aims to mobilize society to fight one of the most aggressive cancers. Since then, the color pink has been used to honor women with breast cancer. And never forget that early diagnosis saves lives!

Undergoing breast surgery for oncological reasons imposes an immeasurable physical and psychological burden on patients’ lives.

Fortunately, with the evolution of medicine and the techniques used, we have seen the adoption of more targeted and less aggressive oncological techniques, as well as reconstructive techniques of varying complexity, but with results that tend to be better and more natural.

The main determining factors in the reconstructive technique chosen are the type of cancer surgery performed (mastectomy with or without skin, areola or nipple preservation/tumorectomies), adjuvant or neo-adjuvant treatments (radiotherapy before or after surgery) and smoking.

In the Plastic Surgery consultation, ideally held before any surgery, we discuss the various reconstructive options that exist, what to expect from each of them and the timings in which they are carried out. I cannot stress enough the extreme importance of the relationship that is created in the consultation, because it is here that doubts arise, fears are quelled and a joint journey is prepared.

In a very simplistic way, reconstructions can be immediate (carried out at the same time as cancer surgery), deferred (carried out after cancer surgery) and can be autologous (with tissues from your own body) or alloplastic (using implants and the like).

All techniques have advantages and disadvantages, but whenever possible, I opt for Immediate Reconstructions. By avoiding the – albeit temporary – period of breastlessness, physical and psychological recovery tends to be better, and the end result is often similar to that of cosmetic surgery.

In this journey, I convey and reinforce to patients that the Plastic Surgeon is always there – with some concerns, but always with a message of support and hope, because the reconstruction of an amputated part of the body is at the genesis of the Specialty, and is one of the most beautiful acts of Medicine.

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