Women who have undergone an operation to treat their breast cancer (mastectomy or lumpectomy) are faced with the decision to have their breast or breasts reconstructed. Breast reconstruction is something that has many different pathways in regards to what way you want to go about it.
Before making your final decision, it is important to ask yourself critical questions. Is breast reconstruction right for me? If you decide to go with reconstruction surgery, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the options you have available to you.
There are three main types of operations to choose from:
- Using saline or silicone breast inserts commonly referred to as breast implants.
- Taking from your own body tissues rather than silicone or saline inserts. These are called tissue flap procedures.
- Using saline/silicone and your own body tissues in combination to reconstruct breast(s). This is the less common of the three procedures.
Once you’ve made your decision of what method you would like use, another important decision leading up to your operation needs to be made. It is up to you whether or not you would like your mastectomy or lumpectomy operation to be followed by your breast reconstruction immediately after. Some women choose to have it done months or even years after the initial operation.
Lesser known options
When treating breast cancer with a mastectomy, it is not uncommon for the nipple to be removed along with the rest of the breast. If this happens to be the case, you have the option to decide to have your nipple and areola reconstructed. It is usually done 3 to 4 months after your surgery. Typically it is done as an outpatient procedure and can be done by surgery, tattooing, or a combination of the two. Speak to trusted professionals for more information and further options.