Women explant their reconstruction after mastectomy due to a number of complications. These complications include pain or discomfort caused by capsular contracture, various infections, discovering symptoms of breast implant illness and the possibility that many symptoms they attributed to their cancer treatment, (i.e. chemotherapy, radiation, preventative hysterectomies causing surgical menopause in premenopausal women, as well as side effects from breast cancer related drugs) could actually be caused by their breast implants instead. Some of these women have immediate reactions to their implants while others take longer to accumulate symptoms and some are suffering more severely than others.
Regardless, when women discover many of the negative effects of breast implants such as capsules and implants harbouring mold or bacteria that could be making them ill or the silicone implant could be decomposing and leaking or ruptured inside of their chest cavity contaminating them with silicone chemicals and heavy metals they move to explant their reconstruction.
While the possibility of going through yet another surgery or second mastectomy and contemplating the idea of further reconstruction without implants versus going flat, is definitely agonizing, and fear-producing for women who have already been through the trauma of breast cancer treatment and loosing their natural breasts completely, it is a place many come to when discovering and researching breast implant illness and the negative effects of having breast implants inside of their body.
Breast cancer and subsequent breast implant illness survivors repeatedly express they were not informed of the possible negative health affects of either saline or silicone breast implants, the multiple surgeries involved going forward with reconstruction, nor were they provided other essential information to enable proper informed consent before they decided to reconstruct with breast implants. Most express that had they been provided the long list of possible risks and other complications, they would never have chosen reconstruction for themselves. These women commonly feel they were too quickly steered toward breast implants, or another type of flap reconstruction (that also sometimes includes implants), and never provided the option to “go flat.” Many women who had expressed the desire to go flat often say they were dissuaded or discouraged from doing so. Another common theme is the pressure and rapid pace by which these reconstruction decisions are required to be made, in the middle of a life-altering diagnosis, without the time to carefully consider all options.
We realize these women need special resources such as a list of surgeons who are experienced in both explanting reconstruction after mastectomy and also at proper chest wall reconstruction, or flat closure, if they choose to go flat. This list is currently being compiled as more and more women from this population are explanting to FLAT.
Below are some resources we have to support women explanting their breast implants placed following reconstruction for breast cancer related surgeries.
Facebook support groups for those considering or explanting to FLAT-i.e., no further reconstruction of breast mounds but still able to use breast forms or prosthesis if desired:
For women considering further surgical reconstruction of breast mounds post-explant:
Please join our Facebook group of over 100,000 women for support through your healing journey.
We look forward to your comments, feedback and personal stories about your symptoms due to breast implants. Please see the comment form below. Thank you.