Breast implants are NOT the only option
The most commonly performed method of breast reconstruction performed today uses tissue expanders and implants. Although this approach is a good option for many, it’s not the only option. Likewise, implants may not be the best option for some patients. Reconstruction options using your own tissue (referred to as autologous or “flap” reconstruction) is also an option. In particular, after radiation treatment flap procedures are associated with fewer complications than implant-based reconstructions.
Sensory nerve reconstruction may be an option
Following a mastectomy, many patients experience permanent numbness to the chest area and reconstructed breast. This is because the sensory nerves that provide feeling are usually cut during the mastectomy. There is some good news though! Advances in breast reconstruction techniques have made sensory nerve reconstruction possible: reconnecting the sensory nerves in the chest can significantly improve the return of feeling to the reconstructed breast.
Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols are making recovery easier
Many surgeons are now implementing ERAS protocols to ensure their patients experience an easier recovery following breast cancer surgery, with or without reconstruction. Regardless of the type of reconstruction performed, ERAS protocols are reducing hospital stays, shortening recovery, and reducing the need for narcotics to control discomfort after surgery.
Shared decision-making matters
Breast reconstruction is not a one-size-fits-all procedure. Ensuring you discuss all your options and how they align with your lifestyle, preferences, and goals is critical in planning the best reconstructive option for you.
You can choose NOT to have breast reconstruction
It is important for patients to remember choosing NOT to undergo breast reconstruction and instead opting to “go flat” is an acceptable choice. Going flat (aesthetic flat closure) gives patients seeking no reconstruction the ability to maintain balance and symmetry without reconstructing the breast(s). Women can also choose to go flat after breast reconstruction if they are unhappy with their reconstruction results or have experienced complications after breast reconstruction.
To learn more about ALL your options, download the Breast Advocate App today!