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Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women. Most women who have it choose to have a lumpectomy, which removes only part of the breast tissue instead of the entire breast. But for those who do have a masectomy, the surgery oftentimes does not end there.
Most women who undergo a masectomy are able to have their breasts reconstructed. In many cases the reconstructive surgery can begin right after the masectomy. But it ultimately depends on whether a patient will need radiation.
"Number one choice is the transfer of the patient`s own tissue up to the chest wall when radiation`s gonna be involved," said Dr. Steven Yearsley, a plastic & reconstructive surgeon at Mid Dakota Clinic.
This procedure, known as flap surgery, takes tissue, fat and sometimes muscles from one part of the body and moves it to the chest to create a new breast. Dr. Yearsley says patients who opt to have implants should wait until after they`re finished with radiation since the implants can complicate the treatment.
"It can give a bad result," said Dr. Yearsley. "They`re more known to have tissue-healing problems which can cause exposure of the implant, higher rate of infection."
Dr. Yearsley says patients who choose to have implants often get silicone ones because they feel more natural. He says that`s because a patient`s tissues become thinner after the masectomy.
"The majority of patients feel like they are standing up to the cancer and they are gonna go on with their lives and not be held down by this disease," Dr. Yearsley said.
And helping women feel in control of their lives is what reconstructive surgery is all about.
Great Plains Rehabilitation Services is holding an open house Thursday in Bismarck from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is for women who have had breast cancer who want to get fitted for under-garments.