Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women worldwide, with an estimated 2. 3 million new cases diagnosed in 2020 alone. For some women diagnosed with breast cancer, a double mastectomy or bilateral mastectomy may be recommended as part of their treatment plan.
What Is A Double Mastectomy?
A double mastectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of both breasts in order to treat or prevent breast cancer. This procedure is typically recommended for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts, are at high risk for developing breast cancer due to family history or genetic mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, or who simply want to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.
It is important to note that not all women need a double mastectomy, and it is not always the best course of action for every woman diagnosed with breast cancer.
What To Expect Before Surgery
Before undergoing a double mastectomy, you will likely undergo several diagnostic tests, including mammograms and biopsies. Your doctor may also recommend genetic testing if you have a family history of breast cancer.
You will also meet with your surgeon to discuss the details of the surgery itself and what to expect during recovery. Your surgeon will also provide specific instructions on medication management before and after surgery.
The Surgical Procedure
During a double mastectomy, general anesthesia is administered before making incisions on both sides of your chest wall. The extent of your surgery depends on various factors like tumor size and location – it can range from removing only tumors from each affected breast without total removal/loss;
Once all tissue has been removed from both breasts, drain tubes are typically inserted into each side which allow fluids that accumulate in empty spaces within/beyond anatomical structures to leave your body. These tubes generally stay in place for several days to a week after surgery, depending on how much drainage there is.
Following the completion of the procedure, you may be fitted with surgical drains and have dressings and any additional reconstructive surgeries scheduled if desired. .
Recovering from a double mastectomy can take time as it is a major surgery. It’s critical that patients are patient and gentle with themselves during this difficult recovery process, maintain excellent hygiene practices , eat well and carefully exercise as advised by doctors/surgeon surgeons et cetera/physicians/nurses /physical therapists [[What should I eat before/most important nutrients]]/speak/doctors regarding prescribed medication].
It is common to experience discomfort, fatigue, and limited mobility in your chest region for several weeks post-surgery. Women may also experience emotional pain following the loss of their breasts, which can last longer than physical symptoms such as redness and swelling.
Emotions Around The Surgery
A double mastectomy can elicit complex emotions around losing one or both breasts; it’s not just any normal body part but what society predicates as a very feminine feature that also shapes feminine identity for many women. Some may feel empowered by their choice while others struggle with adjusting to their new bodies.
Here are some frequently asked questions about how women can cope:
How does one deal with breast reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction after mastectomy offers patients various options designed to rebuild lost contours adding visually-similar implant devices simulating natural skin/elastin cohesion without that weighty feeling of silicon-filled faux boobies; or choosing autologous procedures using their existing tissues from other parts such transverse rectus abdominus muscle flap ‘tram’ or deep inferior epigastric perforator flap
DIEP) grafting methods among others[[ref needed]]. We encourage our patients to speak with their healthcare team about all options and which one best equipped for their unique situation.
How long does it take to recover from a double mastectomy?
Recovery times vary among individuals, based on factors such the extent of surgery, overall health before/during/after surgery, personal habits, lifestyle postmastectomy care practices, support system externalities et. al. It takes weeks to months and pending on improved wound healing[s], it’s possible patient may resume sexual activity alongside other routines. [[Cite needed?]]
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts or are at high risk for developing this disease due to family history/genetics; then having a double mastectomy is likely recommended by your doctor. We understand that this decision can be frightening/gut-wrenching but we’re here during each step of the way-verbally-//we’ll stand side-by-side throughout your journey!!-/No matter what you choose!/.