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At 44, Carmella was young and single, living a very active lifestyle. So, when she was diagnosed with cancer in one breast, it was completely unexpected. "When I learned that I had breast cancer, I was shocked," Carmella says. "I really did not know anybody at the time who had breast cancer, and I really didn't know what my options were." Ultimately, she decided to have a double mastectomy (removing the other breast prophylactically) and breast reconstruction.
Carmella was very concerned that she would not look feminine and attractive after her mastectomy. After all, she had a full life ahead of her and wanted to feel good about her body and her appearance for the rest of her life.
Carmella's plastic surgeon thoroughly explained her reconstruction options, particularly the use of flap techniques versus breast implants. She decided on immediate breast reconstruction with implants and AlloDerm® Regenerative Tissue Matrix. She subsequently had a revisionary procedure to correct minor asymmetrical appearance and rippling.
"Breast reconstruction has allowed me to just be more of myself," Carmella says. "I felt very comfortable going out in public and wearing the clothes that I normally wear. Sometimes wearing...a little bit less than I normally wear to show off my, you know, new additions, which I'm very pleased with."
Carmella says, "If I had somebody approach me about breast reconstruction, I would tell her to make her own choices that are best for her, first of all. Everybody is different and has different needs."
The method of reconstruction you choose will depend on a variety of factors. The best way to determine which procedure will best meet your goals is to meet with a qualified surgeon. You can use our Doctor Finder to find a breast reconstruction surgeon near you.
Read the full transcript of Carmella's story.