Nearly 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year in the United States. This diagnosis evokes fears and anxieties, but it also presents women with a choice between two options: breast-conservation treatment and mastectomy. For women who choose the latter, breast reconstruction may be necessary to restore the breast mound and maintain quality of life after the end of oncological treatments.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the most important consequence following a mastectomy is the psychological impact of the altered physical condition. This impact can include anxiety, depression, and negative concepts of body image and sexual virility. Recent studies have shown that breast reconstruction following a mastectomy can be highly successful in improving the quality of life for patients. However, women have two primary choices if they choose to go this path: utilizing an artificial implant (known as implant reconstruction), or using tissue from another part of the body (referred to as autologous reconstruction).
Implant vs. Autologous
It’s ultimately a matter of preference for the patient, however, there are important differences to consider.
It was assumed that implant and autologous breast reconstruction were the opposite of one another. Implants were easier to deal with in the beginning but required more medical intervention over time. Autologous reconstruction was more difficult in the beginning but required less medical intervention as the patient aged.
Recently, researchers compared the safety of the two methods, and their conclusions were significant. According to their findings, implant reconstruction carries a higher risk of reconstructive failure and surgical-site infection than autologous reconstruction. While skin or flap necrosis was more common in autologous reconstruction, the researchers concluded it was ultimately a safer method for breast reconstruction.
Talk Things Over
Regardless of the findings, it’s always important to discuss these matters in person and walk through all your options to understand the best fit for your body and needs. At Breast Reconstruction Associates, your Fort Worth Breast Reconstruction Experts, our mission is to walk you through each step of this process. Recent studies have shown that patients and doctors don’t talk nearly enough during this process; only 43% of patients felt they had a good understanding of the procedure.
Our methods are patient-centered, evidence-based, and aligned with your feedback and needs. If you are approaching this important decision in your life, reach out to our team for compassionate care and world-class expertise.