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 to match the size and shape of the other breast. The nipple and the darker area around the nipple (areola) can also be added.

Most women who have had a breast removed (mastectomy) are able to have breast reconstruction. Women who have had only the part of the breast around the cancer removed (lumpectomy or breast-conserving surgery) might not need reconstruction, but sometimes they do. 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.

The decision to have breast reconstruction is yours to make. Try to learn as much as you can before deciding what to do. 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: 12/05/2014
Last Revised: 10/20/2015