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On Reconstructive Surgery with Dr. Benjamin Eskra, Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Benjamin Eskra is a board-certified plastic surgeon, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and a published author in “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Board Review.”

What is the difference between cosmetic and reconstructive surgery?

— Anne L., Goldsboro

Cosmetic surgery reshapes your body’s natural structures like the nose, eyelids, breasts, or face. Procedures include rhinoplasty, eyelid rejuvenation, breast augmentation, and liposuction.

Reconstructive surgery is performed on abnormal structures of the body, caused by trauma, tumors, congenital defects, or even disease. Generally, reconstructive surgery is performed to improve function as well as appearance and self-esteem. Procedures include hand surgery, skin grafts, burn care, and reconstructive surgery after mastectomy.

Should breast reconstruction be done at the same time as my mastectomy, or can I delay it?

— Wanda D., Mount Olive

There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Some women don’t want to think about reconstruction while coping with a cancer diagnosis. Ideally, it’s best to do it at the same time as the mastectomy, but you may choose to wait.

Delayed breast reconstruction means that rebuilding is started later. For women who need radiation to the chest area after the mastectomy, starting the reconstruction at the time of mastectomy will leave many reconstructive options open that may not be available after having radiation.

Also, starting reconstruction at the time of mastectomy will eliminate time spent without a breast. The most important thing is to discuss this decision with your oncologist and breast cancer surgeon. Your overall health and stage of cancer are important factors in this decision.

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