Your best option for breast reconstructive surgery is highly dependent upon your own body and specific needs. During your consultation with your plastic surgeon, discuss the options that are best suited to you. The goal of the procedure is to help cancer survivors with mastectomies complete the healing process by restoring an emotional sense of wholeness, and a psychological and physical sense of feeling complete.
There are 3 types of breast reconstruction:
1 – Implant-Based Reconstruction Options
This type of breast reconstruction involves the restoration of the breast using an artificial breast implant. Breast implants are specially shaped silicon bags that can contain either saline (salt water) or silicon gel. This type of procedure can be done in immediate and delayed reconstruction
2 – Combination of Implant and Autologous Tissue Reconstruction
With this combination option, tissue from the back (the latissimus dorsi muscle), along with an implant, is used to reconstruct the breast.
3 – Autologous Tissue Breast Reconstruction
This is the construction of your new breast using your body’s own fat instead of an artificial implant. The tissue may come from your abdomen, buttock or thighs and consists of only fat and skin without the need to sacrifice important muscles. These leading-edge procedures are becoming the benchmark of breast reconstruction in the United States and have been performed in Europe for many years with excellent results. Over the years, the procedures have been refined to provide patients with a more natural result. Procedures include Latissimus Dorsi Flap, Extended Latissimus Dorsi Flap, Muscle-sparing Latissimus Dorsi Flap, Thoracodorsal Artery Flap, Periumbilical Peforator Flap, Muscle-Sparing TRAM Flap, Transverse Upper Cracilisi Flap, and the IGAP and SGAP Flaps.
Choosing Not to Have Reconstruction
“Going Flat” or “Living Flat”
Many women choose to live without reconstruction after a mastectomy. One of the reasons for this is that a large percentage of women are never offered the possibility of breast reconstruction in the first place. In some instances, patients may have been offered only limited options because other options were not right for them.
There are a great many reasons patients offer for not wanting reconstruction after a mastectomy. Some women state age as a factor, while others regard breast reconstruction as denial, undesirable or unnecessary. Because breast cancer is the main focus, many patients feel that the cancer treatment itself is their greatest challenge, without the angst of plastic surgery. Choosing not to reconstruct can be a perfectly sound and healthy choice for many women.
The most important fact is that every woman, independent of her circumstances, should be offered the entire range of options at the time of the mastectomy in order to be able to make an educated decision.
Whether you choose to reconstruct immediately or delay, or not to choose reconstruction at all – it is YOUR decision, and you are entitled to change your mind as your life’s journey continues.