The goal of reconstruction is to restore your breast to a near normal shape and appearance.
Breast reconstruction typically involves multiple staged surgeries (1 - 5+ surgeries).
Your breast reconstruction may:
- begin at the same time as mastectomy
- be delayed until you heal from mastectomy and recover from any additional cancer treatments (chemotherapy/radiation), or
- be performed years after your original mastectomy
Did you know?
- Only 30% of women diagnosed each year with breast cancer will be treated with a total mastectomy. Of those, only 38% percent undergo immediate reconstruction.
- Less than 25% of women know the wide range of breast reconstruction options available.
- Less than 25% of women know the quality of outcomes (results) that can be expected for their reconstruction.
- Most women who choose to have breast reconstruction have implants.
- The Women’s Health and Cancer Right Act was federally enacted in 1998 to ensure economic coverage for reconstruction fees after mastectomy. Multiple research studies have shown there has been no significant increase in reconstruction rates following passage of this law.
Having breast reconstruction is a personal decision.
Unlike having a mastectomy to remove the cancer, breast reconstruction surgery is not necessary for all women. Many women live happily without a reconstructed breast. You should choose to have the procedure for the right reasons. You should also be healthy enough to have reconstruction surgery. Click to see if you are a candidate.
Although breast reconstruction aims to rebuild your breast, the results are highly variable.
- a reconstructed breast will not have the same sensation and feel as the breast that was removed during mastectomy
- a visible incision line (scar) may be present on the breast from the mastectomy and additional reconstruction.
- certain surgical techniques will leave scars in areas where tissue is taken to build a breast, such as the back, abdomen, or buttocks.
If only one breast is affected, it alone may be reconstructed. If you prefer, breast surgeries (implant placement, reduction, or breast lift) may be performed on the opposite breast to achieve symmetry.