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Many women will have reconstruction surgery for their breast cancer -- either at the same time as a mastectomy or later on. A reconstruction surgery may involve the use of implants or tissue taken from another part of your body. Which surgery is best for you may depend on factors such as body type and whether you have had other surgeries. Women considering reconstruction should be aware that it requires more than one surgery.

Breast Cancer Reconstruction: An Overview

Some women who plan to have a mastectomy decide to have breast reconstruction. Other women prefer to wear a breast form (called a prosthesis). Others decide to do nothing. All of these options have pros and cons. What is right for one woman may not be right for another. What is important is that nearly every woman treated for breast cancer has choices.
Breast reconstruction may be done at the same time as the mastectomy or later on. Some women begin reconstruction at the same time as the mastectomy is done; others wait several months or even years.
The type of reconstruction that is best for you depends on:
  • Your age
  • Your body type
  • The type of surgery for breast cancer you had.
If you are thinking about breast reconstruction surgery, you should talk to a plastic surgeon before the mastectomy, even if you plan to have your reconstruction later on. The plastic surgeon can explain the risks and benefits of each type of breast reconstruction surgery.
Reconstruction will not give you back your breast. Although the reconstructed breast will not have natural sensation, the surgery can give you a result that looks like a breast. If you are considering reconstruction surgery, ask your doctor for a referral to an experienced plastic surgeon.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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