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Christina Applegate's Mastectomy: FAQ

Breast Cancer Survivor Christina Applegate Opts for Preventive Double Mastectomy and Breast Reconstructive Surgery

Are patients satisfied with the reconstructed breast?

It depends on their expectations and the cosmetic results.

"If a patient is expecting to be happy because she's alive, she's going to be happier than the patient who puts, as the most important thing, her appearance -- and may be disappointed because what she sees is not what she pictured," says Avisar.

Reconstruction is an alternative to wearing a prosthetic breast, but it is "totally different" from getting breast implants for cosmetic reasons because it's not a real breast.

After reconstruction, "we do expect you to be able, with clothing on, to look normal without having to have prostheses," says Avisar. "But if the expectation is for the breast to feel normal and to look absolutely normal in front of the mirror without any cover on it, this is probably not going to be the case."

Alvarez says she is "very happy with the results" and shares her story with patients, since she works on a floor of Mercy Medical Center where mastectomy and breast reconstruction patients recover.

Her advice: Talk to your surgeons. "I was very concerned about my cleavage. I talked to my surgeons and made sure that I kept it." She says she wound up with "fabulous cleavage" and a "great set of new, fake breasts."

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