Types of Breast Reconstructive Surgery

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Some women choose to have reconstructive surgery after undergoing a mastectomy to remove breast cancer.

So you've had a mastectomy and are looking at the possibility of having breast reconstructive surgery. There are several types doctors can perform shortly after your mastectomy or several years later. Talk with your doctor about these options to reshape your beasts to resemble your pre-cancer body:

Synthetic implants
According to the American Cancer Society, the implant that is used most often is made of saline. It has a flexible shell that is full of sterilized salt water and can give your breast a natural feel. These implants do not last for a lifetime. They occasionally burst, which can be dangerous, and may need to be removed or replaced even in the 10 years following your implantation surgery. 

Other man-made options include silicone gel-filled implants, which are also referred to as form-stable implants. They keep their shape even if the silicone outer shell is broken and may cause less damage than saline-filled implants in the event that the shell ruptures. Some clinical trials are under way, testing other materials to further improve the possibilities for breast reconstruction implants.

Tissue flaps
Some women choose to have tissue-flap reconstruction. This procedure requires two surgeries: one to remove fat from the lower stomach or upper back and one to implant the tissue in the breast. Because the implants are completely natural and come from your body, they act the most naturally, even shrinking and enlarging as you lose or gain weight. They also don't carry the dangerous risk of rupturing and do not need to be taken out or redone like synthetic implants sometimes require.

Your doctor will discuss the best option for you based on your overall health, any further treatment that you may require to eradicate the cancer and how well your body heals. 

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