Buddy Check 16 — Reconstruction surgery and breast cancer

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JOPLIN, Mo. — Reconstruction surgery is often important for a lot of women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Freeman Health’s Breast Center Director explains some of the latest trends and options for patients.

Dr. Alan Buchele, Freeman Surgeon, Breast Center Med. Dir., “I think it’s important to points out that for the majority of women, more surgery does not really equate to a better survival.”

Surgeon Dr. Alan Buchele at Freeman Health System says a breast cancer diagnosis can be scary, and a double mastectomy might seem like an inevitable choice — but less can be more.

Dr. Alan Buchele, Freeman Surgeon, Breast Center Med. Dir., “Less healing time, sooner return to their activities without all the risks of a complications that a larger operation would entail.”

So, if you’re diagnosed, try to remember that you have options.

Dr. Alan Buchele, Freeman Surgeon, Breast Center Med. Dir., “Some women want to be flat-chested. They do not want to have any reconstruction, so that would be the simplest thing of all.”

For others, an implant might be the appropriate choice.

Dr. Alan Buchele, Freeman Surgeon, Breast Center Med. Dir., “The most straightforward type is some sort of prosthesis. And we use different kinds that have either a saline or a silicone implant.”

And if a woman is not a candidate for an implant, tissue reconstruction can also be considered.

Dr. Alan Buchele, Freeman Surgeon, Breast Center Med. Dir., “One of the more popular ways is to do a tummy tuck, and then use the tissue from the tummy tuck to reconstruct the breast. And you can do that on one or both sides.”

Muscles, like the latisimus or shoulder muscle, are also an option.

But, tissue reconstruction is only done if the patient is a proper candidate for the procedure.

Dr. Alan Buchele, Freeman Surgeon, Breast Center Med. Dir., “High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease. Smoking is a big one because the tissue reconstructions do require tissue healing.”

As far as timing, reconstruction is usually done after radiation treatment, so the radiation doesn’t distort the reconstruction.

But reconstruction can be done before chemotherapy, as long as it’s healed.

Oncoplastic surgery is also becoming more popular — getting reconstruction done at the same time has a lumpectomy.

Dr. Alan Buchele, Freeman Surgeon, Breast Center Med. Dir., “You try to do sort of a lift or a reconstruction at the same time, so that you can do a larger lumpectomy and have a little bit better of a cosmetic outcome.”

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