The Great Implant Debate

Know Your Rights

For many women, having a proper, healthy breast reconstruction can help put them on the road to psychological recovery from cancer.

"Breast reconstruction is part of the treatment for breast cancer," said UCSD's Wallace. "These women need it as much as chemo or tamoxifen."

If a patient feels like she is not getting the answers or the options she would like, there are legal ways to request more. According to Emory University's Wood, a patient should ask about the options, and then ask about other surgical centers.

"Often options that are inappropriate by virtue of body habitus are not reviewed by reconstructive surgeons as they are not options for that individual," he said. "It makes sense to review them and explain why they are not good options."

For Johnson, getting the look and feel made possible by silicone implants was so important that she went to a different surgeon, and battled her HMO to pay for the surgery.

"I was told that I should have saline implants right away, and that a surgeon could change them out later," she said.

"But I know that the first shot is the best shot when it comes to breast reconstruction, and I was not willing to have something in my body that I didn't want there."

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