Is this a difficult decision for mastectomy women?
Deciding whether or not to have a breast rebuilt is a very personal choice. Take the time you need to learn about how breast reconstruction might affect you, both emotionally and physically, before you decide to have the surgery. There are two main categories of reconstruction:
1. implant reconstruction, which uses a saline or silicone implant to create a breast shape
2. autologous or flap reconstruction, which takes tissue from another area of your body to create a breast form
In some cases, an implant and flap may be used together.
Also consider whether you’re open to not having reconstruction. This could be your most flexible option — you can go breast-free, use a pop-in breast form, or change your mind and get breast reconstruction in the future. When considering this idea, keep in mind that reconstruction at the time of mastectomy generally produces better cosmetic results than a reconstruction done much later. Still, having reconstruction much later on is possible if you’re just not ready to make decisions right now.
Talk to all of your cancer doctors and your plastic surgeon about the best options for your unique situation. A plastic surgeon who's experienced in the options you're considering may offer you the most complete review of all your choices. Since plastic surgeons tend to specialize in different reconstructive techniques, you may need to talk to more than one surgeon to get the full picture.
Talking to other women who have had breast reconstruction can give you more personal opinions about your options. There’s nothing like hearing from other women who’ve had it done — and they may even be willing to share photos.
With my warmest thoughts