Is Prophylactic Mastectomy Regret a Concern?

prophylactic mastectomy regret

With advances in molecular biology research and genetic screening, women are now able to know in advance if they are likely to develop aggressive breast cancer in the future.

These advances, paired with improved surgical techniques and patient engagement, have led to an increase in prophylactic mastectomy – surgery to remove breast tissue before cancer has a chance to develop.

But do women who opt for a prophylactic mastectomy regret their decision later? Very rarely. Especially if they begin with a plastic surgeon-first consult and plan their mastectomy with the reconstruction in mind.

When to Consider a Prophylactic Mastectomy

Typically, women consider getting a prophylactic mastectomy if they are at high risk of developing breast cancer.

Causes of Increased Breast Cancer Risk

Genetic mutations like BRCA1/2

Family history of breast cancer – especially in parents or siblings

Previous breast cancer diagnosis

Radiation exposure

If you are at high risk of developing breast cancer, consulting with a plastic surgeon before prophylactic mastectomy can help you get the best reconstruction outcomes so you can live happily with no regrets.

Is Prophylactic Mastectomy Regret a Concern?

According to several studies, the rate of regret for women who underwent a prophylactic mastectomy is very low, consistently around 5%. In most cases, women who expressed regret over their mastectomy either felt like they didn’t have enough information while deciding or had post-reconstruction problems that needed to be addressed.

Women who were fully supported in their decision-making and given autonomy over their choices and procedures almost never regretted their decision to have a mastectomy.

How to Avoid Prophylactic Mastectomy Regret

The best way to make sure you have no regrets after your surgery is to get as much information ahead of time as possible. Surround yourself with an excellent healthcare team and ask questions.

Most importantly, trust your instincts. The right solution for you might not be the same as for your best friend or sister, so consult your plastic surgeon and breast surgeon to chart your own course.

Questions to Ask Your Plastic Surgeon

  • What are my reconstruction options based on my anatomy and health needs?
  • What will recovery be like?
  • What kind of sensation can I expect in my restored breasts?
  • What are the pros and cons of each mastectomy surgery?
  • What are the pros and cons of each reconstruction technique?
  • What surgical techniques are you most comfortable performing?
  • Can I see before and after photos from your other patients who had this same surgery?
  • What have your other patients said they wished they knew before their surgery?
  • What happens if I am unhappy after breast reconstruction surgery?

An excellent plastic surgeon will anticipate that you have many questions and concerns. Getting a prophylactic mastectomy is a life-changing decision, and your plastic surgeon will be there to help educate and guide you through the process while alleviating your concerns.

What Are Common Prophylactic Mastectomy and Reconstruction Options?

Common Prophylactic Mastectomy and Reconstruction Techniques

Mastectomy

Reconstruction

Choosing the Right Plastic Surgeon

Choosing the right team to work with can make all the difference to prevent having any prophylactic mastectomy regret. Choose someone to work with who can provide you with the following:

  • Comprehensive care coordination: finding an expert breast surgeon you can trust.
  • Skilled medical attention: many reconstruction techniques require advanced microsurgical training and skill development.
  • Personalized care: every woman is different, so every prophylactic mastectomy and reconstruction process should also be unique. 
  • Insurance coverage assistance: Insurance can be a confusing hassle. Find a provider with a designated insurance coordinator to negotiate with your provider and take some of the stress off you during this time.

Harris Plastic Surgery – Prophylactic Mastectomy and Reconstruction Experts

The experts at Harris Plastic Surgery are ready to help you evaluate all your options so you can make informed choices and avoid having any prophylactic mastectomy regret in the future. We believe all patients deserve the right to feel empowered in their decisions regarding their health and treatment outcomes. We have decades of experience in all microsurgical reconstruction techniques and provide comprehensive patient support from surgical schedule coordination to insurance negotiations.

Harris Plastic Surgery Experts in Breast Reconstruction and Revision

If you are concerned about prophylactic mastectomy regret, make us your first call.

Contact us online or by phone/text message if you have questions or are ready to schedule your consultation. 

Stephen U. Harris, MD FACS

Dr. Stephen U. Harris is a board-certified cosmetic surgeon and recognized expert in breast reduction and reconstruction surgeries, having performed thousands in his career. When it comes to patient care, his philosophy is that every surgery should improve his patient’s overall quality of life, not just their appearance. Dr. Harris stays up-to-date on all the latest advancements in breast augmentation, reconstruction, and reduction and is a recognized innovator in the field. In fact, he was the first surgeon at Good Samaritan Hospital to offer primary prepectoral implant breast reconstruction, as well as secondary prepectoral revision surgery.

Dr. Harris also serves as Chief of Plastic Surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, New York and is an active staff surgeon (and former Chief of Plastic Surgery) at South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, New York.

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