Last updated: Apr 15, 2008

If you elect to have breast reconstruction after your mastectomy, you'll usually have the opportunity to choose between implants and using tissue from your own body. These three women went for implants.



It was easier
Twilah Richardson, 51, of Allentown, Pa., went with implants because both TRAM flap and latissimus dorsi are long and invasive surgeries, especially for a double reconstruction. "You end up feeling like you were hit by a car and I wasn't interested in that," she says, adding that "I don't have a lot of extra skin on my tummy, so I don't think I had enough to construct two breasts."

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She already had them
Melissa Graves, 40, of College Station, Tex., had no doubts about wanting immediate reconstruction, and she knew she would get implants. "Because I had had implants before, I had the 'pockets' so they could just drop them in," says the Texas mother of two. "As they filled them up, they got as hard as a rock. My daughter called them 'Terminator tits' because when you have the [tissue] expanders, they get really hard. You could bounce a quarter off them." Later, Graves had the expander balloons exchanged for silicone implants, which felt a lot better.

She wanted to leave the hospital looking "a little bit normal"
Boulder, Colo., resident Kim Rider, 50, woke up after her bilateral mastectomy with expanders in place. "That was helpful that I could walk out of the hospital and look a little bit normal," she recalls. "Now I'm at the end of the process and they look good. I'm excited to have boobs. I was never chesty but I figured, why not? So I opted for a bit of an upgrade, so I could fill out a normal bra size. This is important to me. I'm in athletic clothes a lot—I swim, I water-ski, I work out a lot—and I wanted to look normal."