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Types of Breast Reconstruction

Methods used to reconstruct the breast include:
  • The use of saline or silicone implants
  • The use of tissue taken from another part of your body.
Some women choose to have implants. Implants may be made of saline or silicone. The safety of silicone breast implants has been under review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for several years. If you are thinking about having silicone implants, you may want to talk with your doctor about the FDA findings. Your doctor can tell you if silicone implants are an option.
(Click Breast Cancer Implant Information to read more on the subject.)
You also may have reconstruction with tissue that the plastic surgeon moves from another part of your body. Skin, muscle, and fat can come from your lower abdomen, back, or buttocks.
The surgeon uses this tissue to create a breast shape.
Choose a plastic surgeon who has been trained in this procedure and has performed it successfully on many women. Of course, you will need to have regularly scheduled follow-up care and mammograms.

What Are the Risks?

Tissue flap reconstruction is a major operation, resulting in large surgical wounds. If there is a poor blood supply to the flap tissue, part or all of the tissue in the breast area may not survive the transplant. Infection and poor wound healing are possible problems.

Other Considerations

Most women who have reconstruction surgery for breast cancer are happy with their decision. A woman starting this process, however, should know that breast reconstruction requires more than one surgery.
Extra steps may include:
  • Adding a nipple
  • Changing the shape or size of the reconstructed breast
  • Surgery on the opposite breast to create a good match.
With most of these extra surgeries, you can go home the same day as the operation.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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