Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy Increasing Along With Use of Breast Implants

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New study great news, but PRMA surgeon says more women need to know about breast reconstruction using the patients own skin and fat as opposed to implants.

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Patients who only have access to one surgeon or those that have to travel for surgery are less likely to get a choice of reconstructive options or even reconstruction at all.

New research shows the rate of breast reconstruction after mastectomy has increased over the years, up more than 20 percent since 1998.

This is good news as many more women are becoming aware they have the option of breast reconstruction.

But some surgeons say it might not all be good news.

“It is great to see that more women are becoming aware of the option for breast reconstruction after mastectomy,” says Dr. Chet Nastala of PRMA Plastic Surgery. “Unfortunately, the study also suggests that women are mostly being offered breast implants rather than tissue flap techniques.”

The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, shows a jump in breast reconstruction from 46% in 1998, to 63% in 2007. It also shows a significant drop in autologous reconstruction – a type of reconstruction that uses a woman’s own tissue to reconstruct the breast(s) – and an increase in the use of breast implants.

“The drop was pretty steep,” said Nastala. “Rates from 1998 to 2007 showed an almost 50% decrease in the use of autologous reconstruction.”

Nastala and other surgeons suggest that the drop may be due to the lack of reconstructive surgeons performing these more complex surgeries and in turn, not recommending them to their patients.

Where patients live may also play a significant part in the rate and type of breast reconstruction.

“The population is growing fast and patients living in an area where there are more plastic surgeons are going to have a better likelihood of undergoing reconstruction,” says Nastala. “Patients who only have access to one surgeon or those that have to travel for surgery are less likely to get a choice of reconstructive options or even reconstruction at all.”

Nastala and his colleagues hope that more awareness will be raised about all breast reconstruction options, not just breast implants.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons makes an annual effort to bring attention to the issue with their BRA (Breast Reconstruction Awareness) Day. The ASPS says that over 70% of women facing breast cancer surgery don’t know their reconstructive options.

About PRMA Plastic Surgery

PRMA Plastic Surgery in San Antonio, Texas, specializes in state-of-the-art breast reconstruction. Procedures offered include the DIEP flap, SIEA flap, GAP flap, TUG flap, fat grafting, Alloderm One-Step, vascularized lymph node transfer and nipple-sparing mastectomy. PRMA is In-Network for most US insurance plans and routinely welcomes patients from across and outside the US. Connect with other patients in our breast reconstruction community on Facebook.

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Brandy Haslam
Breast Cancer Reconstruction - PRMA Plastic Surgery, San Antonio, TX
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