Over 100,000 women in the United States undergo some form of mastectomy every single year. Mastectomy refers to the surgical removal of one or both breasts, either partially or completely, most commonly to treat breast cancer.
And while this surgical treatment can be lifesaving, it is also often a challenging process– both physically and emotionally.
In terms of physical risks, patients may experience the formation of hard scar tissue at the surgical site, shoulder stiffness and pain, numbness, and hematoma, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The process of breast removal can be emotionally tolling for many women, too– since the body parts are often deeply tied to feelings of identity and self-esteem.
That is why many mastectomy patients opt to undergo breast reconstruction surgery following the procedure.
Reconstruction surgery will essentially rebuild the shape and appearance of the breasts, either using tissue, prosthetic implants, or a combination of both.
Although, a new study conducted by American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) member surgeons and colleagues at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has found that about 25% of breast cancer patients who seek out breast reconstruction actually do not complete the reconstructive process.
It is known that the process of breath reconstruction can be long and arduous, with patients facing many hurdles before they receive an idealistic aesthetic result.
This reality can be daunting and too overwhelming for some patients, pushing them to halt the reconstructive process altogether.