What is Preventative Mastectomy?
Preventative Mastectomy is a surgical procedure in which the Plastic Surgeon removes breast tissue or the entire breast to reduce or prevent breast cancer.
In most situations the operation involves both breasts.
Why women choose to undergo a Mastectomy procedure?
For obvious reasons! Women who are at high risk of developing breast cancer often consider and decide to reduce their risks by undergoing the mastectomy.
We’ve all read in the tabloids about Angelina Jolie having a double preventative Mastectomy and I don’t want to belabour the topic, the media has already done that! However, it was effective in raising awareness of this procedure and its benefits.
To quote her:
I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.
How is this surgery performed?
In a complete mastectomy the surgeon will remove the entire breast and nipples.
A total mastectomy is most often recommended because it removes the most tissue – thereby providing the greatest degree of protection.
These surgeries can often be performed on an out-patient basis. It involves removal of the majority of breast tissue and immediate first stage reconstruction using what is called temporary breast expanders. Temporary breast expanders are later replaced with permanent implants and followed by nipple reconstruction at the appropriate time.
Why is this procedure very important?
It can reduce the chance for breast cancer in some women at moderate or high risk by about 90%.
Most women will opt at a later date to have Breast Reconstruction surgery.
Breast Reconstruction surgery rebuilds the shape of the breast(s) by including tissue flaps and implants.
Complete recovery time is usually 30-40 days
A total mastectomy can cost upwards of $50,000, however there really cannot be a price put on the 90% risk reduction of breast cancer.