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Breast Reconstruction

Mastectomy Information

View Mastectomy Reconstruction Before and After Photos
Mastectomy Before and After Photos

Options in Reconstruction after Mastectomy

The type of breast reconstruction procedure available to you depends on your:

  • medical situation
  • breast shape and size
  • general health
  • lifestyle
  • goals

Breast reconstruction can be accomplished by the use of:

A tissue flap is a section of skin, fat and/or muscle which is moved from your stomach, back or other area of your body, to the chest area and shaped into a new breast.

Whether or not you have reconstruction with or without breast implants, you will probably undergo additional surgeries to improve symmetry and appearance. For example, after your breast has healed from the original implant surgery, you may want to build a new nipple and darken the areola (skin around the nipple). This procedure can usually be performed on an outpatient basis. Ask your doctor to explain the various ways this can be done, such as using a skin graft from the opposite breast or by tattooing the area.

Ask your doctor about the pros and cons of each implant technique. If you decide to have reconstruction for one breast, you may need to think about surgery on the other breast to achieve a similar appearance.

Your results will depend on many individual factors, such as

  • your health
  • chest structure and body shape
  • healing capabilities (which may be hindered by radiation and chemotherapy, smoking, alcohol, and medications)
  • the skill and experience of the surgical team
  • the type of surgical procedure
  • the type and size of implant, if used

You will be given general or local anesthesia, and in most cases, antibiotics. The surgery may last from 1-2 hours for augmentation to several hours for reconstruction or revision.

Scarring is a natural outcome of surgery, and your doctor can describe the location, size, and appearance of the scars you can expect to have. For most women, scars will fade over time to thin lines, although the darker your skin, the more prominent the scars are likely to be. You should ask your doctor about the types of surgical procedures, where your scar will be, and what to expect after surgery.

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