George and I drove about 40 minutes on freeways to Downy Kaiser to meet a plastic surgeon today. Usually health insurance doesn’t cover a plastic surgery, but breast reconstruction is an exception for Kaiser insurance.
I asked the doctor pros and cons of having and not having reconstruction.
I read that if there is only one breast, it causes unbalance and affects the backbone, shoulders, and posture, but the doctor denied it. The major reason of reconstruction is psychological and some want to change their breast sizes to be bigger. If you use muscles of abdomen or back for reconstruction, you will have a scar there. If you implant silicon, it’s not permanent and requires replacement in the future. Because your skin is also gone by mastectomy, you may use a deceased donor’s or pig’s skin, also for reconstruction. If you have reconstruction together with mastectomy and have radiation after, the radiation may mess up the reconstructed breast and may need a re-surgery. The doctor talked to us about 1 hour, measuring my breast and the fat in my abdomen.
I am no longer a young girl, my breast is not the center of the universe for me, and more importantly George says he is OK without reconstruction. Though I was already leaning towards not having reconstruction, I decided not to have it at this point because of its complication. If I get depressed too much looking at the lost breast, I will rethink reconstruction. When I got home, I e-mailed the surgeon to let her know I wanted to have a mastectomy on the 14th without reconstruction.