By Susan Kamyab
Overcoming breast cancer is a tough feat. But after undergoing a double mastectomy, the constant reminder of what you went through and what you have lost can be emotionally straining. Fortunately, breast reconstruction can help cancer survivors with the pain and insecurity of facing the world again.
On August 3, 2008 Christina Applegate, star of the hit comedy series Married with Children and popular film franchise, Anchorman, announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The early detection of the cancer from a doctor-ordered MRI deemed the disease not life-threatening. The actress quickly underwent a double mastectomy (even though the cancer was in only in one breast) and was cancer free two weeks later. In order to stop feeling like a victim, she chose to have a breast reconstruction.
You Have Options
According to a recent study by the American Cancer Society, over 230,000 cases of invasive breast cancer is to be expected among U.S. women. Dr. Robert Whitfield, a board certified plastic surgeon from Austin, Texas, explains what breast reconstruction options women can choose from. “The first option is to use your tissue from the lower abdomen in what’s called a DIEP Flap procedure, removing only skin and fat so that the underlying muscle is not harmed.” And for a less invasive way to use your own fat, surgeons can also remove the fat via liposuction and build up a new breast with harvested fat. “The second option is to use an implant based reconstruction, whether it is with a tissue expander or a permanent silicone gel,” says Dr. Whitfield. Finally, the third option is simply combining both fat grafting and implants so that patients can have the exact shaped breast they desire.
Breasts Stay Young as You get Older
Applegate chose to have the second option and had expanders inserted when undergoing her procedure. “They keep expanding over a few months until they take those out and put in your implants,” said Applegate when discussing on Oprah. This is a decision that she is proud to have made, allowing her to live everyday with more confidence and strength. Christina Applegate has also mentioned how she looks forward to having “cute boobs till I’m 90…the best boobs in the nursing home…” She can take comfort in the fact that the medical and cosmetic surgery that exists today will be able to make that goal a promise.