The decision to have breast reconstruction is a matter of personal choice. Whether the reconstruction should be "immediate" or "delayed" is one that is not always easily answered. Nor is the answer the same for everyone. Learn as much as you can about the process before making a decision. No single source of information can provide every fact or give you all the answers. You and those close to you should discuss any questions and concerns about reconstructive surgery with your health care team.
- To make your breasts look balanced when you are wearing a bra, not necessarily "the same" when you are not wearing a bra. The breasts should be close enough to one another in size and shape that you will feel comfortable about how you look in most types of clothing.
- To permanently regain your breast contour. Breast reconstruction cannot restore your normal breast sensation. With time, the skin on the reconstructed breast can become more sensitive, but it will not give you the same kind of pleasure as before a mastectomy.
- To give the convenience of not needing an external prosthesis
There are three main types of breast reconstruction:
- Reconstruction using an implant of some kind.
- Tissue flap reconstruction, in which skin, muscle and fat from your back or abdomen (tummy) is tunneled through to the chest to create a new breast. The skin, muscle and fat stays connected to the area of the body from which it was taken.
- Free flap reconstruction, in which skin and fat from your lower abdomen, or occasionally buttock, is grafted to the breast area. The skin and fat is completely removed from the original area and a new blood supply is created for the new breast tissue, using microsurgery.
- Breast Reconstruction--American Society of Plastic Surgeons
- Back to the Latissimus Dorsi by Dana Khuthaila, MD, and Dennis Hammond, MD, PSP August 2005 (very nice article)
- Breast Reconstruction--CancerBackUp.org
- Breast Reconstruction--Medline Plus
- Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy--American Cancer Society
- Breast Reconstruction after Mastectomy--Mayo Clinic
- Breast Reconstruction Guide for Patients by Stephen S. Kroll, M.D.
- Reoperative Plastic Surgery of the Breast by Kenneth C. Shestak, MD; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, December 2005