Breast Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure performed to restore the shape, appearance, and size of a woman's breast after mastectomy.

What is Breast Reconstruction?

Breast Reconstruction is a type of surgery for women who have had one or both breasts removed due to cancer or other diseases. The goal of this surgery is to rebuild or recreate a natural-looking breast that matches the remaining healthy one in terms of size, shape, and appearance.

The procedure can be done immediately after breast removal (mastectomy) or at a later time. It often involves several operations and can be performed using either implants or body tissues taken from another part of the patient's body (source).

Types of Breast Reconstruction

There are two main types of breast reconstruction surgeries: implant-based reconstruction and autologous or 'flap' reconstruction.

Implant-Based Reconstruction

This type involves using silicone gel or saline (salt water) implants to create a new breast mound. This type may require tissue expansion before placement of the final implant (source).

Autologous or 'Flap' Reconstruction

In this method, surgeons use tissue (skin, muscle, fat) from other parts of your body like the abdomen, back, buttocks, or thigh (source).

The Process

Typically an initial consultation with a plastic surgeon will help determine which approach would work best for each individual case. The surgery can take between two to six hours, depending on the complexity and whether it is performed at the same time as the mastectomy.


Recovery from breast reconstruction varies greatly depending on the type of reconstruction performed. Generally speaking, patients can expect a recovery period of 6 to 8 weeks with some restrictions on physical activities.

Risks and Benefits

Like any surgical procedure, there are risks involved with breast reconstruction such as infection, bleeding, or problems with wound healing. It's important to weigh these against the benefits – improved self-image and quality of life – when considering this procedure (source).

Remember that deciding on breast reconstruction is a very personal choice and should be made in consultation with your medical team.

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Nancy Park, RN, BSN
Certified Aesthetic Nurse