Rita Wilson’s Reconstructive Surgery: A Realistic Option for Cancer Patients?

In a recent interview with People Magazine, Rita Wilson revealed that she was diagnosed with lobular breast cancer (a type of cancer that affects both breasts), and as a result, had a double mastectomy followed by reconstructive surgery. With Angelina Jolie, another high profile star, making headlines for having the same procedure in order to prevent cancer from developing, many women in similar situations may be wondering if breast reconstruction is a realistic option for them.

“The good news is that women can achieve excellent outcomes in situations of cancer surgery or preventative surgery that resemble normal-appearing breasts in terms of size and shape,” says Eugene, OR, plastic surgeon Mark L. Jewell, MD. "There have been many recent improvements in reconstructive breast surgery technology with tissue expanders, anatomically-shaped permanent implants, and soft tissue support materials. Additionally, tattoo reconstruction of the areola and nipple can give realistic-appearing 3-D results versus the difficulties of traditional nipple reconstruction.” Furthermore, breast reconstruction does not interfere with cancer treatments. 

As a result, many women benefit both physically and emotionally from this cosmetic procedure. “From an emotional perspective, women like being reconstructed versus wearing external prosthesis,” says Dr. Jewell. “Women tell me that they feel whole and are relieved that they have done something to reduce cancer risk.”

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