Some women who plan to have a mastectomy decide to have breast reconstruction. Other women prefer to wear a breast form (prosthesis) inside their bra. Others decide to do nothing after surgery. All of these options have pros and cons. What is right for one woman may not be right for another. What is important is that nearly every woman treated for breast cancer has choices.
Breast reconstruction may be done at the same time as the mastectomy or later on. If radiation therapy is part of the post-surgery treatment plan, your oncologist may suggest waiting until radiation therapy is complete.
If you are thinking about breast reconstruction, you should talk to a breast surgeon specialist and possibly a plastic surgeon before the mastectomy, even if you plan to have your reconstruction later on. Our breast reconstruction surgeon is Dr. Valerie Lemaine with Plastic Surgery Consultants.
Some women choose to have breast implants, which are filled with saline or silicone gel. You can read about breast implants on the Food and Drug Administration, American Society of Plastic Surgeons and American Cancer Society websites.
You also may have breast reconstruction with tissue that the plastic surgeon removes from another part of your body. Skin, muscle, and fat can come from your lower abdomen, back, or buttocks. The surgeon uses this tissue to create a breast shape.
The type of reconstruction that is best for you depends on your age, body type, and the type of cancer surgery that you had. The plastic surgeon can explain the risks and benefits of each type of reconstruction.