Breast Reconstruction

Post-mastectomy surgery

By Brandie Umar, Executive Director of ContentLast modified: December 01, 2011

Breast Reconstruction Defined

Breast cancer affects 12% of women. Treating breast cancer with surgery can prevent the cancer becoming terminal. Most women diagnosed with advanced breast cancer need a mastectomy to remove the breasts and prevent the spread of the disease. Reconstructing breasts after a mastectomy helps women recover emotionally from breast cancer and allows them to continue to feel feminine.

Breast reconstruction surgery rebuilds the shape of breasts after a mastectomy procedure. Using either tissue and fat from another area of the body or with breast implants surgeons can reconstruct the shape of a natural breast. Breast reconstruction helps women retain their figure and helps with the emotional impact of a mastectomy procedure.

Breast reconstruction surgery can be performed at the same time as a mastectomy procedure or at a later stage. Surgery combined with the mastectomy is known as immediate reconstruction of the breasts. Reconstruction that is performed in a separate procedure is known as delayed breast reconstruction.

The decision to have immediate or delayed breast construction will depend on the health of the woman, the progression of the cancer and the opinion of the cosmetic surgeon.



A Good Candidate For Breast Reconstruction

Any woman who has lost a breast is a candidate for breast reconstruction surgery. The type of breast reconstruction surgery suitable will depend on the overall health and weight of the patient.

If both breasts have been removed during the mastectomy procedure breast implant Reconstruction surgery provides a more symmetrical appearance to the breasts.

It is recommended any woman requiring further cancer treatment wait to complete the treatment before undergoing breast reconstruction surgery. 

Breast Reconstruction Procedure

There are two types of breast reconstruction procedures: Reconstruction using a silicone or saline filled breast implant or tissue flap reconstruction.

Breast reconstruction with breast implants
is normally performed immediately following the mastectomy procedure. The benefit of this type of reconstruction is only one surgery is needed. The diseased breast tissue is removed by the oncologist and the cosmetic surgeon positions the breast implant before the incision is closed.

Breast reconstruction with tissue flap surgery
is usually performed as a separate surgery to a mastectomy. Tissue and fat is taken from the stomach and used to reconstruct the shape of a natural breast. This procedure is known as a TRAM flap breast reconstruction.

Cost Of Breast Reconstruction

The cost of breast reconstruction surgery will depend on whether the surgery is carried out as one procedure with the mastectomy, the type of reconstruction method used (breast implant or tissue flap) and the location of surgery.

Breast Reconstruction Options

Following a mastectomy women have two options for breast reconstruction surgery: To reconstruct breasts surgeons can use breast implants or using a flap of tissue and fat from another area of the body. The reconstruction method used will depend on the amount of tissue and fat available and the desired feel and appearance of the breasts after surgery.


Surgery may either be performed immediately after a mastectomy in a combined procedure or in a separate operation later.

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This article was written by the medical research team at does not intend for any of the information on this site to be regarded as medical advice - it is meant as a starting point for understanding treatment details and options before contacting a registered, licensed doctor. We advise all patients to seek medical advice from a doctor.
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