When discussing options for reconstruction with my doctors, I was given three choices : flat, flap, or foobs (they didn’t actually call it foobs, but I like it, so I am going with it). It makes it easier to remember.
Many factors go into which option you choose. There is no one size fits all approach (pun intended). It’s important to know the different options and to research what might be best for you before talking to your doctor. Come prepared with questions and be informed!
Here is a very abbreviated spark notes version of the different options:
Option 1: Flat. It’s exactly what you are thinking. After the mastectomy, you don’t do any additional reconstruction. Think about it, no boob sweat, no annoying underwire bras, and one less step in the recovery process.
Option 2: Flap. This method involves using tissue from other areas of your body to reconstruct your breasts with your own tissue. This could be tissue from your stomach, upper back, butt, or thigh. I mean hey, you can put my extra fat into my boobs at any time!
Option 3: Foobs. Aka fake boobs. This involves reconstruction using tissue expanders that eventually lead to implants. They fill the expanders until you reach your desired size, and then they are swapped out with implants. Hello perky foobs!
So, let me expand a little bit on which option I am going with and what that looks like. I knew that I personally wanted reconstruction, so option number 1 wasn’t the best option for me. Option number 2 was not a good option due to where the fat on my body is distributed. I also only have one thigh and one butt cheek to steal fat from, so that didn’t work in my favor either. Therefore, option number three was my best bet!
Expanders were placed during my mastectomy surgery. These are used as a temporary place holder as things heal from surgery. They are rubbery and are shaped like a disc, see photo below. Every few weeks, they are filled with saline solution, until I reach my desired size. Disclaimer, I have not chosen to go Pamela Anderson style, so I will have far less fills than some. But, for those of you that do choose that, you go, girl!
I had my first expander fill this week. I kept joking that I wasn’t sure if I was at the dentist or at the plastic surgeon, I mean look at this chair they put me in! To fill the expander, they access the little metal port that is on it. A large syringe with saline inside is inserted into the expander port with a needle. Good news is that the fill was totally painless! I guess there are a few plus sides to losing complete feeling in your chest! Surgery to swap the expanders for implants will be scheduled for three months out once I am done with expander fills. The entire process will take me about 4-5 months, and I can’t wait to see the final result!
I hope this provides some insight, spark notes style, into the different options there are for mastectomy patients. Like I said, there is no one size fits all approach. Whatever option you choose needs to be right for YOU and no one else ❤