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Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy

What is breast reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction is achieved through several plastic surgery techniques that attempt to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance and size following mastectomy. There are three main steps in any breast reconstruction: Creation of a new breast mound Touch-ups of the reconstruction, and possible modification of the opposite breast (lift, reduction) in patients having a mastectomy of one side (optional) Creation of a new nipple and areola (optional) A more in-depth look at the steps in breast reconstruction can be found here.

Is it the right choice for you?

Most breast cancer survivors who have had a complete or partial mastectomy (removal of all or some of the breast tissue and nipple) are candidates for breast reconstruction. If you have had, or will need radiation therapy to the breast, it may influence the type of reconstruction, and when you can have it. Some patients will need chemotherapy after their mastectomy, and this too can affect the timing of your reconstruction.

While breast reconstruction is considered elective surgery, undergoing breast reconstruction can have profound emotional and practical benefits. It is also important to keep in mind that breast reconstruction does not interfere with the treatment of breast cancer or surveillance for recurrence. It can, however, help to enhance your confidence and self-image after mastectomy. The decision to have breast reconstruction is a personal one, to be made by you and your loved ones. It is important to know that not all patients are candidates for all types of reconstruction. The type of reconstruction you undergo will be decided by you and your surgeon, depending on your particular needs, anatomy and previous treatments.

Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU