After Breast Cancer, Many Women Lack Options

In her testimony, she recalls saying, "I said, 'gentlemen, it's our turn; I can't see what you've got down there, but you can see what I've got up here."

Importance of Choice

Provided a woman is a good candidate for the five-hour-long reconstructive surgery, immediate reconstruction can save a patient a second round of a four-week recovery after breast surgery.

Some women elect to have mastectomies, when a lumpectomy is an option, because they don't want to carry around the worry. Patients often say, "I'm not going to trust that, I want the breast off," said Anne Rosenberg, clinical professor of surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

For women who choose mastectomy, or for women who had no choice, providing immediate breast reconstruction surgery for all eligible women might be a difficult challenge.

One factor might be the limited surgery resources of an area, says Rosenberg.

Reconstruction requires a general surgeon to find a consulting plastic surgeon and to coordinate operation time — a difficult task for a stand-alone general surgeon with a private practice.

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