With advances in breast reconstruction surgery, many women undergoing breast removal choose to have their breast(s) rebuilt. Even though medical, surgical, and radiation therapy treatments for breast cancer have increased the number of breast-sparing procedures available, some breast cancer patients may still need a mastectomy (removal of the breast(s)). A woman may also have her breast(s) removed due to other diseases.
Considering Reconstructive Breast Surgery?
The decision to have reconstructive breast surgery is a very personal one. It depends a lot on how you think you will feel after a mastectomy. If you might feel uncomfortable with a flat chest or wearing a false breast (called a prosthesis), you may want to consider reconstructive surgery. Or you may choose not to have any extra surgery. Breast reconstruction often takes place in stages with more than one operation needed to complete the process.
Stages of Breast Reconstruction
- Stage 1: Placing the Tissue Expander - A tissue expander prepares your chest tissue for reconstruction. This is frequently performed at the time of the mastectomy.
- Stage 2: Implant Based Vs. Tissue Based Reconstruction - There are two different methods for breast reconstruction: implant reconstruction and tissue reconstruction. Your doctor will help you choose the right method for you.
Now or Later?
One of the decisions you will be asked to make is whether you want immediate reconstruction or delayed. Immediate reconstruction means the first stage of breast reconstruction is performed on the same day as your mastectomy. Delayed reconstruction means you have your mastectomy and start the reconstruction process later after your cancer treatments are finished.