Although undergoing surgery can be a nerve-wracking situation for women with breast cancer, knowing what steps to take afterward can be just as daunting. Women have many options for breast reconstruction but many are not opposed to going flat or wearing breast forms. What are the main factors to consider? What is the risk involved with reconstruction? We’re here to break it down for you.
The pros of breast reconstruction
One aspect of this surgery that women like is that the decision can be made later, or at the time of the mastectomy. If you think you might consider this option later on, it’s best to talk with a cosmetic surgeon who has experience with breast reconstruction. This should guide your surgeons towards thinking of the best way to go about your mastectomy or lumpectomy. Besides that, there are other pros to evaluate for yourself:
- You won’t have to invest in a breast prosthesis.
- Your chest will look even and full.
- Quality autologous, or “flap” reconstructions- surgeries that form new breasts using tissue from another part of the body- are often safer and longer-lasting than breast implant surgeries.
- There are many types of reconstruction, so it’s possible to find exactly what is best to meet your needs.
- FDA-approved breast implants go through extensive testing to ensure that they are safe.
The cons of breast reconstruction
There are, however, some issues that many women are not willing to risk. Some are more serious than others, but they are downsides, nonetheless.
- It is another surgery and may leave more scarring.
- It may not give you a symmetrical look and you may require the use of a partial prosthesis to even you out.
- Surgeries that use silicone or saline implants may be more prone to issues and require another surgery at some point.
- Flap reconstructions will leave scars on another part of the body besides the breasts.
- Some kinds of breast implants have been linked to the development of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) around 8 to 10 years after reconstruction.
- Infections such as breast implant illness (BIA-ALCL) can develop.
Cons of going flat
Luckily, most women who have undergone or will go through breast cancer surgery are made aware of the cons listed above. Though, there are reasons reconstructions exist in the first place. Many cancer survivors do not want to deal with the reality of not having breasts or dealing with uneven breasts. After all, mastectomies and other similar surgeries can be traumatic experiences. There is risk involved in the mastectomy itself, but there aren’t any medical cons to going flat, specifically.
Pros of going flat
It’s great news that many women are pleased with their decision to go flat. In this study, it was shown that almost 75% of the women are pleased with their decision to opt out of reconstruction. Consider the pros listed below as well:
- Lower risk of infection
- Less scarring overall
- No risk of complications associated with implants
- Faster recovery
- Avoid additional surgeries
- External breast prostheses are much more affordable and pose no risk to your health as long as you are fully healed. We can also fit for custom prosthetics to find the perfect fit for your body!
Regardless of the decision you make, it is a very personal decision. It’s important to do your research, keep true to yourself, and do what is most comfortable in your situation.