Breast Reconstruction

By: Frank J. DellaCroce, MD, Emily T. Wolfe, MD

INTRODUCTION
An estimated 300,000 women are affected by breast cancer every year in the United States, and another 2.6 million are living posttreatment. As diagnostic technology has progressed and the understanding of the disease process has evolved, the number of mastectomies performed in the United States has increased. Breast reconstructive techniques have commensurately become more sophisticated along the same time- line. The result is that those facing mastectomy have the potential to simultaneously retain physical beauty and wholeness. Despite these advances, only 33% of women who are otherwise candidates for immediate reconstruction at the time of mastectomy choose reconstruction. The 2 reasons most attributed to this remarkable statistic are failure of the treatment team to refer the patient to a plastic surgeon at the time of diagnosis/decision for mastectomy and the resultant lack of understanding on the patient’s part regarding her reconstructive options.

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