Your Recovery Options

These are three basic options available for women who have had mastectomies:

You can wear a prosthesis, which is a carefully designed false breast, that is worn in a specially made brassiere. There are a variety of shapes and styles to match your other breast and fit you comfortably.

You can have breast reconstruction surgery, in which a plastic surgeon will recreate a breast shape in place of the cancerous breast that was removed. You may choose artificial implants like pouches filled with saline (salt water); or you may choose to have your own body tissue transferred from elsewhere in your body. Reconstructive surgery can happen at the same time as your cancer surgery, or at a later time.

You may also choose to live with a single breast. Some women feel that a prosthesis is uncomfortable, or don't want the additional surgery and recovery time. This is a personal choice, and should depend on how at ease you feel with one breast.

 © 1999 Michigan State University
Communication Technology Laboratory