By Marie McCullough
The Philadelphia Inquirer
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) In recent years, women such as Laura Tuzio Ross have brought attention to an issue many do not talk about. Some women who don’t really want reconstruction after cancer surgery say they are pushed or rushed into it, often without fully understanding the downsides of using an implant or their own tissue to fashion a breast replacement.
When Laura Tuzio Ross told her plastic surgeon that she preferred not to reconstruct her breast after cancer surgery, he warned her she would regret it.
“He said, ‘You’re only 41. You have the rest of your life ahead. Women wake up, and they’re devastated,’ ” recalled Ross, now 47, of Northeast Philadelphia. “He said, ‘You’re tiny, and we could do a one-step reconstruction on the same day as the mastectomy.'”
She relented, but after two years with what felt like “a cereal bowl under my skin,” she had her silicone breast implant removed. Now, she calls herself a “uniboober” and is so unselfconscious about being lopsided that she doesn’t wear a prosthetic breast form.
For decades, concerns have been raised about women who couldn’t get breast reconstruction, which has been shown to have psychological and physical benefits.
But in recent years, women such as Ross have brought attention to a less well-known problem: Many who don’t want reconstruction are pushed or rushed into it, often without fully understanding the downsides of using an implant or their own tissue to fashion a breast replacement.
A recent study of 123 women found that before mastectomy, two-thirds of them were inclined to forgo reconstruction, yet less than a third of them wound up doing so. While almost all recalled talking about reconstruction with their surgeons, the discussions were focused on the advantages.
Only 43 percent knew about the types of reconstruction, the number of operations involved, recovery times, and the major complications that one in three women experience.