Breast Reconstruction Program

Breast Reconstruction Program

Guidelines for Professionals

Guidelines for Physicians

Breast reconstruction is an appealing option for many women facing mastectomy. Women should be informed about all options, including the option of immediate or delayed reconstruction. This subject should be raised by those involved in primary breast cancer care prior to mastectomy, as there are many advantages to immediate reconstruction both from a patient perspective and health care utilization perspective. When combined with skin-sparing techniques, immediate reconstruction procedures produce a more natural aesthetic look that closely resembles the normal breast.

Patient factors such as age, disease stage, co-morbid factors, body habitus, and/or need for adjuvant therapy should all be considered but are not contraindications to immediate reconstruction. Patients who have undergone reconstruction at UBC in the past have ranged in age from 18 to 79 years. If a patient had previous radiation or will need post-mastectomy radiation, then autologous reconstruction may be a better option than alloplastic (implant) reconstruction.

The majority of women who undergo breast reconstruction are very satisfied with the results. Breast reconstruction is a positive factor to a very negative life experience. For those women who feel it is important to feel whole again, and not to have a constant reminder of their cancer, breast reconstruction is a rewarding undertaking. To date, breast reconstruction has not been shown to interfere with surveillance for disease recurrence nor has it altered mortality or disease free survival. It has been shown to improve patient quality of life.

However, breast reconstruction does not appeal to all women.

For the above reasons women should be informed of the option of breast reconstruction but the final decision as to whether it is important to proceed should be left with them.

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