Women who have had surgery to treat breast cancer can choose from several types of breast reconstruction. When deciding what type is best for you, you and your doctors should discuss factors including your health and your personal preferences. Take the time to learn what options are available to you and consider talking to others who have had that procedure before you make a decision.
Several types of reconstructive surgery are available, and often the process means more than one operation. Give yourself plenty of time to make the best decision for you. You should make your decision about breast reconstruction only after you are fully informed.
The two main types of breast reconstruction are implant reconstruction and tissue (flap) reconstruction. Sometimes the implant and flap procedures are used together to rebuild a breast.
For all types of breast reconstruction there is often an opportunity for future “touch up” procedures, such as fat grafting and scar revisions. Breast reconstruction can also recreate the nipple-areolar area that can be done with a small surgical procedure, tattooing, or a combination of both. This is done to help make the reconstructed breast look more like the original breast.
For information about the procedures to reconstruct the shape of your breast or breasts see the following pages:
If you’ve decided to have breast reconstruction, you’ll still have many things to think about as you and your doctors talk about what type of reconstruction might be best for you. Some of the factors you and your doctors will need to think about when considering your options include:
Your surgeon will review your medical history and overall health, and will explain which reconstructive options might be best for you based on your age, health, body type, lifestyle, goals, and other factors. Talk with your surgeon openly about your preferences. Be sure to voice any concerns and priorities you have for the reconstruction and find a surgeon you feel comfortable with. Your surgeon should explain the limits, risks, and benefits of each option.
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American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Breast Reconstruction. Accessed at https://www.plasticsurgery.org/reconstructive-procedures/breast-reconstruction on July 28, 2021.
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Last Revised: October 20, 2021