The choice to undergo an elective mastectomy of one or both cancer-free breasts, typically when the risk is high, is a very difficult one. However, virtually all women who opt for reconstructive surgery, whether immediately or shortly after, are very glad they did.
A 2008 study examined women who underwent preventative mastectomies and subsequent reconstructive operations. Of those who had a unilateral prophylactic mastectomy-when breast cancer is present in one breast but both are removed-94% were satisfied and 96% percent of them would have reconstruction again. Even more extraordinary: of those who underwent a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy-both breasts are removed when cancer isn’t present but is probable-100% percent were satisfied and 100% would do it again.
“These women look and feel the same or better and their risk of cancer has been taken off the table,” said study co-author and former ASPS president Dr. Scott Spear. “For women who know they are at risk, this option gives them the opportunity to be active about their health and appearance rather than reactive. They can have excellent cosmetic results, low surgical risk and a high level of satisfaction with their breast reconstruction. This is empowering for women.”
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