New Breast Reconstruction Law Corrects Disparity

Montefiore Medical Center surgeon Evan Garfein, M.D., authored a bill concerning breast reconstructive surgery, which New York Governor David Paterson recently passed.

The bill, A10094B/S6993-B, mandates that every general hospital in New York providing mastectomies, lymph node dissection or lumpectomies must inform patients about their reconstructive surgery options.

Breast reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy, lymph node dissection or lumpectomy is covered for the insured in New York, however, many poor and minority women are unaware of this — usually because reconstruction wasn’t offered to them, and they didn’t know how to ask their doctor about it. The new law specifically targets this group of women.

“Breast reconstruction has been repeatedly shown to improve the quality of life and overall well-being of women who have been treated for breast cancer,” says Dr. Garfein. “This new law will ensure that breast cancer patients from all socioeconomic groups are informed about their options regarding breast reconstruction and about where to get the procedure.”

Women today have several reconstruction options, including saline and silicone gel implants, and other types of reconstruction that use a patient’s own tissue from other parts of her body.

All women facing a mastectomy should consult with both their cancer surgeon and plastic surgeon about reconstruction before they go under the knife. This discussion should take place prior to surgery in case the reconstructive surgery can be performed at the same time as the mastectomy or lumpectomy.



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