Breast Reconstruction Options
There are a few options for breast reconstruction, and which one you use will depend on your age, body type, and treatment plan.
- Breast Implants: The breasts are filled with sacs of saline or silicone gel, or a combination of both.
- Skin Grafts and Transplant (TRAM Flap, Latissimus Flap, or Gluteal Flap): An alternative solution is to use tissue the surgeon removes from another part of your body, like the belly (TRAM), back (latissimus), or buttocks (gluteal). The surgeon sculpts this tissue into the shape of your breast.
- DIEP Flap (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator Flap): This solution uses the abdominal fat (no muscle) to sculpt the tissue into the shape of your breast, resulting in a full tummy tuck and no lifting restrictions later.
- Additional Cosmetic Details: In addition to reconstructing the breast, the surgeon can add a nipple, change the shape or size of the reconstructed breast, and operate on the opposite breast as well for a better match. The plastic surgeon will be able to discuss with you the benefits and risks of each procedure and help you decide what will make you feel the most natural.
Are There Any Alternatives To Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
One alternative to breast reconstruction is a removable prosthetic breast that is worn in the bra. This will preserve the shape and look of the breast without the surgical procedures. Some women opt for a prosthesis to help balance out their weight and posture, too.
Coping With Change, Making Your Plan
After a mastectomy, you have several choices that can help you become comfortable with the changes in your body. They are all options with benefits to each approach. What is best for you and your body may not be what is best for another woman.
If you think you will opt for a breast reconstruction, you should speak with your medical team before you have the lumpectomy or mastectomy, even if you plan to wait until later to have your breast reconstruction.
Whether you undergo breast reconstruction, wear a prosthetic breast, or choose to simply embrace the changes you have experienced by allowing the breast removal to remain obvious, you should feel free to make whatever decision is right for you. The goal is to prevent the discomfort of unwanted change, while enabling you to accept what has occurred and continue on with your life.