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Reconstructive Surgery Options For Women With Breast Cancer

March 22, 2017

Doctors Failing to Inform Women with Breast Cancer of Reconstructive Surgery Options

The New York Times recently examined reconstructive breast surgery options provided to cancer patients undergoing mastectomies.   According to the Times, despite recent advances in reconstructive breast surgery procedures, many plastic surgeons are failing to inform women about the extent of their reconstruction surgery options.  The reason for this, according to the Times, is that some plastic surgeons are not trained to perform the latest operations, and others lack incentives to promote surgeries that are less profitable for physicians and hospitals.

Approximately 66,000 women in the U.S. have a mastectomy each year and about 57,000 women have reconstructive breast surgery.  Implant surgery, which initially involves the least surgery and shortest recovery time, is the most popular breast reconstructive method in the U.S., but implants also can lead to future problems and additional surgeries.  Newer procedures, called flaps, generally involve transplanting a wedge of fat tissue and blood vessels from the abdomen or buttocks and reforming them into new breasts. The most common flap procedure, called a TRAM flap, uses abdominal fat and muscle containing blood vessels to rebuild the breast.  A newer technique, called the DIEP free flap, uses fat only and does not use abdominal muscle. For information about breast cancer, see the breast cancer malpractice lawyers of Pennsylvania, headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA.

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