Last Updated on March 8, 2022 by Janie Wilson
Going through a mastectomy or breast reconstruction after breast cancer can be tough on111 anyone. Mastectomies are a common procedure for removing breast cancer and cancerous tissue. Patients can opt for breast reconstruction post-mastectomy if they wish, to return their body to some normality. Both procedures can take a toll on the body, and it may take time for it to recover fully.
From hair loss to reduced mobility, to numbness, the post-treatment period can be uncomfortable. If you’ve had a mastectomy and/or are considering breast reconstruction, and you’re not sure what to do or expect, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about post-cancer treatment procedures. Read this guide to be prepared and to get through this period as smoothly as possible.
What to expect for a mastectomy
Everyone’s journey through a mastectomy is different. Although the main purpose of a mastectomy is to remove cancerous tissue from the breast, there are other things to consider. When it comes to the procedure, you can focus on different things.
Different approaches to surgery can protect and spare different parts of the breast. In some cases, you can choose to focus on the preservation of the nipple during surgery. There are many benefits to this approach, starting with fewer health risks. It can also lessen the need for reconstructive surgeries in the future. If you’re someone who would like to keep the same look and feel of your breasts post-surgery, talk to your doctor about this approach.
What to expect after surgery
Recovery time and healing depend on the surgery and your body, so it can vary from person to person. After a mastectomy, for most women, it can take about 4 weeks for the body to fully recover. With some women, it can take upwards of a few months, and this can happen for a variety of reasons.
You’re most likely to experience numbness and tightness rather than pain after your surgery. In time, some of the feelings will return to your breasts, but most likely not all. During your recovery period, it’s important that you make it to all your doctor’s appointments and checkups. Make sure to pay close attention to your body for anything out of the ordinary.
Many women opt for breast reconstruction after their mastectomies for many reasons. Whether you can reconstruct your breast fully to its original look is up to you, your body, and your doctor. The most common breast reconstructions post-surgery are tissue flat procedures and nipple reconstructions. Other surgeries come in the form of AFS and implants. Depending on how much space and material you have to work with, there are plenty of ways to go about breast reconstruction. It’s entirely your choice how you want to go forward after your mastectomy.
Why reconstruct the breast
There are plenty of reasons why someone would want to undergo breast reconstruction surgery. After a mastectomy, the look and feel of your breast will change. They may no longer be the same size and shape, or you may be missing a breast altogether. Although this is perfectly normal, this may bother some women who may wish to keep their body as it was before. Breast reconstruction can help the woman’s chest look balanced and even, and help clothes fit better. It also helps women gain confidence again after going through such a traumatic and stressful period.
Recovery from breast reconstruction
Like after a mastectomy, breast reconstruction recovery takes time and is a unique experience for everyone. You will most likely experience some tightness and numbness, as well as bruising and swelling, depending on the procedure. You may have to spend some time in the hospital under careful supervision after your surgery.
There may be some side effects to be on the lookout for after reconstruction, so it’s important to keep that in mind. Follow-up care is especially important after breast reconstruction. Make sure to stay in touch with your doctor and to go to regular checkups to make sure everything’s okay.
So there you have it! Now that you’re all caught up on mastectomies and breast reconstruction surgeries, you know what to expect. Everyone’s journey is different when it comes to breast cancer. If you’ve decided to have a mastectomy, the most important thing is to find an approach and surgery that is best for you. Talk with your doctor and focus on removing cancer, and preserving what you can.
Take your time with recovery and remember to pay attention to your body. Be on the lookout for any abnormalities and make sure to go to every appointment. The choice to move forward with breast reconstruction is completely up to you. Remember to take things one day at a time and to listen to your body while you recover!