Breast Reconstruction Options

Following a mastectomy, one concern for many women is reconstructing the breast. There are several surgical options available to you for breast reconstruction, including using your own tissue flap. 

Implant Procedure

One possibility for breast reconstruction is undergoing an implant procedure. There are different choices for an implant, but the most commonly used is  a saline-filled implant. The implant consists of a shell which is full of saline solution, or salt water. 

Silicone gel is also an option. The gel has been in a concern in a past because there was fear that they could lead to immune system problems if a leak occurred. Newer silicone gels have not been linked to immune system problems and were even re-approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Some clinical trials that are experimenting with different types of substances within the implants are being conducted. If you are interested in finding a trial, talk to your surgeon. He or she can explain the possible results and risks associated with the experimental implants. 

If you are considering implants, there are some considerations to make before the procedure. Implants are not considered to be a lifetime solution. The implants might need replacement later. You will also need a MRI  every few years to check the condition of the implants. 

Tissue Flap Procedure

Another option for breast reconstruction is using tissue from other areas of your body to reconstruct the breast. The tissue is usually taken from the back, buttocks, tummy area, and thighs. 

An upside to the procedure is the surgeon does not have to rely on a foreign material to reconstruct your breast. However, the tissue removal can result in scars from the donor site. This is in addition to the scars that can occur on the reconstructed breast. The scars can fade though and not be as visible. 

The newly reconstructed breast will rely on good blood circulation to help it heal. It is because of this, certain women are not able to choose the tissue flap procedure. Potential blood circulation problems, such as having diabetes or vascular disease, can exclude you from being eligible for the procedure. 

Your surgeon, such as someone from Sam W Huddleston IV, MD, can assess your health and help you make the best decision for reconstructing your breast. He or she can even help you decide the best time to undergo the procedure. Ultimately, the decision of when to have it is up to you.