Choosing to Forgo Breast Reconstruction – “Going Flat”
By: Courtney Floyd
Do you have to have breast reconstruction after a mastectomy?
You do not!
With every breast cancer diagnosis comes a plethora of decisions about treatment. One of those decision is whether to have breast reconstruction. There are many options available for breast reconstruction today. These range from implants to autologous flap procedures like the DIEP flap. But these options aren’t always what patients want.
There are also patients today who choose to forgo breast reconstruction. It’s called “going flat” and it’s an option to be discussed and respected as equally as the many reconstructive procedure options available.
When considering going flat:
- Take your time to research your options
- Talk with others who have chosen to go flat
- Look at before and after photos
When choosing to forego breast reconstruction it is important to discuss your final result expectations with your breast surgeon. This will reduce the likelihood of additional surgery after the mastectomy to achieve desired results.
What if I am unhappy with my breast reconstruction results and do not want further surgery?
Going flat after undergoing breast reconstruction (regardless of the type of procedure performed) is also an option for women who are unhappy with their reconstruction results and do not want further breast reconstruction.
Can mastectomy scars be improved for better symmetry?
Yes! Mastectomies can leave contour irregularities and/or excess skin over the side of the chest (known as “dog ears”) that may be bothersome to patients wanting to go flat. We recommend a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss revision options. Typically, out-patient procedures like scar revision or fat grafting can improve these irregularities.
What if I am unsure?
Choosing whether to undergo breast reconstruction or not can be difficult for some. The good news is there is time! Reconstruction can take place at any time, even years after a mastectomy. Take the time you need to make the best choice for you!