Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy

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What is breast reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction is a type of surgery for women who have had all or part of a breast removed. The surgery rebuilds the breast mound so that it is about the same size and shape as it was before. The nipple and the darker area around the nipple (areola) can also be added. Most women who have had a breast removed (mastectomy) can have reconstruction. Women who have had only the part of the breast around the cancer removed (lumpectomy) may not need reconstruction. Breast reconstruction is done by a plastic surgeon.

Here are some facts to help you better understand the process and the words used when talking about breast reconstruction. Some of the words you might hear doctors use are also explained in the glossary at the end of this information.

The choice to have breast reconstruction is yours to make. We hope this information will help you make your decision. Try to learn as much as you can before you decide what to do. No one source of information can give you every fact or all the answers you need. You and those close to you should talk with your healthcare team about any questions and concerns you have about this type of surgery.

Last Medical Review: 06/12/2013
Last Revised: 06/12/2013