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Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy

  • Published: 2011-02-18 (Revised/Updated 2016-03-14) : Author:
  • Synopsis: Breast reconstruction is intended to restore your breast to its original size and shape so that your breasts look symmetrical in a bra or clothing.

If you are planning for mastectomy you will, soon, have to decide about breast reconstruction.

Mastectomy is the removal of both breast tissue and the nipple-aureole area. Surgical oncologists generally do mastectomy surgeries. Breast reconstruction, a specialty surgery normally performed by cosmetic breast surgeons, is intended to restore your breast to its original size and shape so that your breasts look symmetrical in a bra or clothing.

Breast reconstruction helps abate the negative emotional-psychological impact of cancer and disfigurement and creates a positive body image considered an important step in cancer recovery. Your plastic surgeon will recommend the most suitable implant that achieves this goal, bearing in mind any post operative treatment that may be necessary. Cosmetic surgical technique will be important to your positive outcome, also. Nipple and aureole reconstruction is a separate option that can be done later to create a more natural appearing breast.

Immediate Breast Reconstruction

Immediate breast reconstruction refers to breast reconstruction done during the same surgical session as your mastectomy. You may find that immediate breast reconstruction is worthwhile if you have both the time and mindset needed to choose your cosmetic surgeon before your breast removal surgery.

Along with avoiding additional surgery to reconstruct your breast contour, another advantage is the more encouraging "first-look" after surgery, when you see a familiarly-shaped breast rather than a missing breast.

By having your cancer surgeon work with your cosmetic surgeon, you may be able to coordinate your surgeries so that your breast reconstruction can be done during the same surgery as your mastectomy. You are likely to get better long-term results when your surgeons coordinate their operative plans.

Drawbacks to Immediate Breast Reconstruction

Planning an immediate breast reconstruction while learning about and choosing from the various cancer treatment options may be more than you can manage. For many women this is too much to think about after just learning that they have breast cancer. If that is the case, it may be best to delay your reconstruction surgery, as you will want to choose your cosmetic surgeon carefully.

Tissue Used in Breast Reconstruction

Cosmetic surgeons have several sites where they can obtain tissue for breast reconstruction. Choosing the area to obtain this tissue is a complex decision and needs to be discussed with your surgeon. Briefly, though, surgeons tend to obtain the tissue from the lower abdomen in the area that is normally cut away during a tummy tuck procedure. Other methods obtain tissue from the buttocks or inner thigh. In all cases, it is your own body's tissue so the chances of rejection are small.

If you would like to be contacted about breast reconstruction by one of the nation's top cosmetic surgeons please visit the website of Houston, Texas cosmetic surgeon Michael Ciaravino, M.D., F.A.C.S. at

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