Choosing to stay flat
You do not have to have breast reconstruction or use a breast prosthesis after a mastectomy. This is sometimes called “staying flat.” The decision is a personal one. Some women say that they choose to stay flat because they don’t need a prosthesis or reconstruction to make them feel like a woman.
There are many reasons why women choose not to have breast reconstruction surgery:
- Reconstruction means more surgery. If you have other health issues that could affect the surgery (like diabetes or heart disease), it may not be the right decision for you.
- You may decide that the potential complications and side effects of breast reconstruction are not worth it.
- You may not want to use breast implants or take tissue from another part of your body to reconstruct a breast.
- Surgery won’t give you back your breast. A reconstructed breast doesn’t look or feel natural.
You may also choose not to wear a breast prosthesis. Some women find a prosthesis uncomfortable, heavy and awkward. Other women are concerned about the costs – wearing a prosthesis means buying special prosthetic bras or clothing and buying new prostheses over time.
The choice is yours on whether you want to go flat, have breast reconstruction or use a breast prosthesis. The most important thing is that you are comfortable with how your body looks and feels.
American Cancer Society. Breast reconstruction surgery: deciding whether to have breast reconstruction. 2017.
American Cancer Society. Breast reconstruction alternatives. 2017: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/reconstruction-surgery/breast-reconstruction-alternatives.html?_ga=2.243762245.1522799715.1538332104-1964171723.1537986885.
breastcancer.org. Going Flat: Choosing No Reconstruction. 2016: https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/reconstruction/no-reconstruction.
Canadian Collaboration on Breast Reconstruction. Canadian Collaboration on Breast Reconstruction. http://www.breastreconstructioncanada.ca/.