The physicians and other health care professionals I met during my two breast cancers and my years as a navigator spoke of breast reconstruction as a seemingly new process for giving a woman a natural alternative to a breast prosthesis following a mastectomy.
I recently learned that breast reconstruction is a process begun over a century ago as a surgical approach to rebuilding the anatomic breast using tissue from the patient’s body and prosthetic implants. Breast reconstruction began as a means to reduce chest wall complications and deformities following a mastectomy.
Reconstruction techniques have continued to be perfected over the years and today surgeons have achieved a level of success that makes reconstruction a desirable choice for women having mastectomies.
According to the article, “Breast reconstruction: current and future options” that appeared in the Dovepress, Breast Cancer: Targets and Therapy in August of 2011, in the 1900’s surgeons began to use flaps from the pectoralis and latissimus dorsi muscles in reconstruction for cosmetic improvement. In the late 1900s, flaps were used and donor sites expanded beyond the pectoralis and latissimus dorsi muscles to include tissues from other areas, such as the abdominal wall, buttock, flank, and thigh.
This expansion has allowed for the development of a wide array of surgical options. In addition to physicians using the body’s tissues to reconstruct the anatomy, prosthetic materials were implanted or injected to alter or restore the shape and size of the breast. The silicone breast implant was introduced in 1962.
Breast reconstruction has improved dramatically over the last century. Success has been seen in the surgical technique, as well as improvement in self-image.
Breast reconstruction doesn’t interfere with standard oncology treatment. It doesn’t delay detection of recurrent cancer, and does not change the overall mortality associated with breast cancer.
The doctors who wrote the article caution that breast reconstruction does not come without risks and complications. They share that as these complications are studied further and surgical techniques and implants are improved, these efforts will continue to improve reconstruction surgery moving forward.
Source: Article by: Drs.Henry Paul Jr, Tahira I Prendergast, Bryson Nicholson, Shenita White,Wayne AI Frederick Howard University Hospital, Cancer Center, Howard University, Washington, DC, USA