The concerns of someone battling breast cancer range on a spectrum no one considers until they or a loved one are confronted with the illness. From survival anxieties to financial fears, previously unimagined burdens clamor the mind, piling anguish to the struggle. Uncertainty makes any potential for preparation after the fight just one more worry to agonize over.
Thankfully, CRS has that part of your recovery under control.
In recognition of breast cancer awareness this October, we would like to draw attention to CRS breast reconstruction in Fort Lauderdale. Dr. Christopher Low & Dr. Michael Cheung have helped countless women who’ve undergone mastectomies or lumpectomies reconstruct their breasts to near normal shape. Losing a part of your body – especially one you can physically see and feel – is emotionally crushing. Knowing you have options revives faith in “returning to near normal.”
Things to know ahead of time
The two most common reconstruction techniques are implant-based reconstruction and autologous based reconstruction, better known as a DIEP Flap. Both can bring the body back to a pre-surgery look or allow a patient to attain the desired size.
Though most breast procedures are oftentimes cosmetic therefore not covered by insurance- in cases of mastectomy – this is not the case. The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 provides protections to patients who choose to undergo breast reconstruction in connection with a mastectomy.
This Federal Law dictates coverage must be provided for:
- All stages of reconstruction of the breast on which the mastectomy has been performed;
- Surgery and reconstruction of the other breast to produce a symmetrical appearance; and
- Prostheses and treatment of physical complications of all stages of the mastectomy, including lymphedema.
This law applies to two different types of coverage:
- Group health plans (provided by an employer or union);
- Individual health insurance policies (not based on employment).
It is worth noting that WHCRA does NOT require group health plans or health insurance issuers to cover mastectomies in general, though, but if these plans or insurers choose to cover mastectomies, then the plan or issuer is generally subject to WHCRA requirements. Explore the “List of HIPAA Opt-out Elections for Self-funded Non-Federal Governmental Plans” and see if your plan is included.
Our CRS team is well versed in insurance coverage related to reconstruction and is here to make your reconstructive journey as stress-free as possible. During your consultation, we will assess your insurance coverage and provide you with the available options in accordance with your plans’ coverage.
Staged Reconstruction Implants
Implants deliver cosmetic outcomes without having to use tissue from other parts of the body and usually require two surgeries, commonly referred to as a staged reconstruction.
Staged reconstruction begins with tissue expanders being inserted into pockets under the chest’s muscle and skin during the mastectomy or lumpectomy. The expander is filled with saline solution and closely monitored during future outpatient visits. This allows the skin time to prepare for the implant.
Once the “pocket” has reached an adequate size and shape for a period of time, the tissue expander is then replaced with a permanent implant.
Direct Implant Reconstruction
Sometimes implants can be placed during the mastectomy or lumpectomy making it a “single-stage direct implant,” but candidacy for this procedure must be determined by your surgeon ahead of time.
The main factor that determines whether a patient is eligible for this type of reconstruction is whether the remaining skin can hold an implant.
The single-stage approach allows our surgeons to place a breast implant directly and immediately following a mastectomy or lumpectomy, eliminating the need for tissue expanders and allows the patient to wake up with breasts.
Autologous Reconstruction aka DIEP Flap
Autologous reconstruction – better known as a DIEP Flap – uses tissue from your own body to reshape the breast. “Flaps” are skin, fat and sometimes muscle from other areas like the belly, inner thighs, buttocks, or wherever suitable that are removed and deposited into the chest. This can sometimes lead to the added benefit of body procedures that contour areas for a more desirable shape as well.
Autologous reconstruction is preferred because it lasts longer than artificial material. Implants may need to be replaced after 10 years whereas your own body matter is more resilient. They also have a far more natural feel.
One downside, however, is that it requires surgery in at least two different locations: your breast and the donor site. Breast reconstruction with autologous tissue is also a lengthy procedure with longer recovery time.
You’re a Survivor!
While not everyone is a candidate for reconstructive surgery, with careful planning and the right healthcare professionals – you can develop a strategy to fight back that fits you. Breast cancer is a serious condition and CRS takes pride in the honor of having helped so many survivors bounce back while reclaiming their lives.
If you or someone you love is or has been affected by breast cancer, contact our team for a free consultation on the different options now available for reconstruction. You are not alone in this battle, Dr. Cheung and Dr. Low are here to walk this journey alongside you.
Dr. Michael Cheung, Dr. Christopher Low, and the professionals at CRS specialize in sculpting the perfect you. If you or a loved one are considering a procedure, schedule your free consultation or call 954-533-8029 and a representative will assist you.
Plastic surgery is not recommended for everyone.
CRS Plastic Surgery
906 NE 26th Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304