For women with breast cancer, there are many reconstructive options. Your surgeon and the members of your healthcare team will fully discuss which option is best for your unique situation. If you are a candidate and are considering implants for reconstruction, here are some things of which you should be aware:
- After radiation treatment, implants alone may not be a good option for reconstruction. Radiation can affect the ability of the skin to heal after surgery and make it feel stiffer, tighter, and less pliable.
- Breast implants are very useful for women having bilateral (both side) reconstructions. Achieving symmetry is simpler when the breasts are the same material.
- To achieve symmetry when an implant is used for reconstruction on only one side, a procedure may be recommended for the opposite breast. This may include breast reduction, breast lift, or implant augmentation.
- Women with breast implants can safely undergo mammograms. Older silicone implants that have been in place for more than 15 years may be at increased risk of damage.
- When implants are in place and radiation therapy is recommended, changes may develop in the appearance and the feel of the breast over time.
- Implants are not lifetime devices, and one or more revisionary surgeries may be recommended to keep an implant reconstruction looking good and feeling natural.