The Canadian Breast Cancer Network has an excellent section on breast prosthesis, reconstruction, and living “flat” (choosing not to have reconstruction surgery or use a prosthetic). The decision on these different options after a mastectomy are very personal one. Do your research and make sure to ask questions of your surgeon and medical team to get all the information on which options are available to you.
Breast prosthesis -is a breast form that can be worn against your skin or are ones that can be slipped into a special pocket in a specialized bra or bathing suit designed for women who have had a mastectomy. A prosthetic can be made of different materials including silicone, foam or cotton,
Breast reconstruction -is a surgery performed by a plastic surgeon to rebuild the breast or breasts after a mastectomy. It can be done at the same time as the surgery for the mastectomy or at a later date. If your treatment regime is to include radiation and chemotherapy, you may be advised to wait until these are finished before reconstruction takes place. There are two basic types of breast reconstruction: implant reconstruction and autologous tissue reconstruction.
Living “flat” or asymmetrical -some women choose not to have reconstruction or a prosthesis after a mastectomy. The reasons behind this decision vary and can include: cost of prosthesis, complications for surgery or treatments, not wanting to have more surgery, like the freedom of not wearing a bra,… it is a very personal and an individual choice.