Types of Breast Reconstruction
The three main types of breast reconstruction:
- Reconstruction Using Implants
Uses an implant filled with silicone gel or saline to recreate the breast mound.
- Autologous Reconstruction
Breast mound built using tissue "borrowed" from another part of your body.
- Autologous Tissue with Implant
Your plastic surgeon and his/her team will discuss these methods with you and counsel you as to which option is best suited for you based on your physical and treatment characteristics.
Reconstruction can be either immediate (at the same time as the mastectomy) or delayed (at a later time). This decision may be dictated by the characteristic and stage of the breast cancer, and will be made together with your breast surgeon. In many cases, immediate reconstruction is a reasonable and safe option.
Immediate reconstruction has been shown to be a safe option for many women. In this type of reconstruction, the breast mound creation is done at the same time as the mastectomy. This can help minimize the negative effect that a mastectomy can have on body image and self-esteem. Immediate reconstruction also reduces the number of anesthetics required to complete the reconstruction. If you are interested in beginning reconstruction at the time of mastectomy, you must ask your breast surgeon to make a referral for you to see a plastic surgeon.
Delayed reconstruction is performed several months or even years after the mastectomy after other cancer treatments are finished. Generally we prefer to wait a minimum of 6 - 9 months following the completion of radiation therapy to allow time for the chest skin to heal before performing breast reconstruction.