After a mastectomy, some women decide to wear a breast form (prosthesis). Others prefer to have breast reconstruction, either at the same time as the mastectomy or later on. Each option has its pros and cons, and what is right for one woman may not be right for another. What is important is that nearly every woman treated for breast cancer has choices. It is best to consult with a plastic surgeon before the mastectomy, even if reconstruction will be considered later on.
Various procedures are used to reconstruct the breast. Some use implants (either saline or silicone); others use tissue moved from another part of the woman’s body. Concerns about the safety of silicone breast implants have restricted their use to clinical trials approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Women interested in having silicone implants should talk with their doctor about enrolling in one of these trials. A woman’s age, body type, and the type of cancer treatment she had help determine which type of reconstruction is best. The women should ask the plastic surgeon to explain the risks and benefits of each type of reconstruction.
National Cancer Institute
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