13th April 2021 by Claire O'Donnell
Breast reconstruction is surgery to make a new breast after removal of the breast or part of the breast. The aim is to make a breast of similar size and shape to your original breast. But they won't be identical.
Your surgeon will talk to you through the different types of reconstruction. Some may not be suitable for you. The aim of the surgery is to match your other breast as much as possible.
They can show you examples of different types of breast reconstruction giving you an idea of how the reconstructions will look immediately following surgery and beyond.
Other things to consider after reconstruction surgery include -
Breast reconstruction can be done:
Things to consider:
An immediate reconstruction gives you a new breast straight away. Surgeons will try to match the breasts but they will not be exactly the same
The new breast will feel and look different from the one removed and most women find that immediate reconstruction helps them to cope more easily with their feelings about the loss of a breast.
Reasons for an immediate reconstruction -
Reasons against an immediate reconstruction -
Some people prefer to get over their mastectomy and breast cancer treatment before thinking about having a reconstruction.
Reasons for a delayed reconstruction -
Reasons against a delayed reconstruction -
Breast reconstruction might be possible for you even if you have:
If you are well enough you can have breast reconstruction at any age.
Breast conserving surgery removes only part of the breast. The appearance of the breast is usually very good after this type of surgery followed by radiotherapy.
Few women need reconstructive surgery when only part of their breast is removed. But some women may need reconstruction of the remaining breast tissue. It may be possible to have a partial reconstruction or breast reshaping.
Some women will need to have a larger amount of breast tissue removed. This type of surgery leaves a dent in the breast and means the treated breast ends up smaller than the other breast. But it is sometimes possible to get back the shape with a partial reconstruction of the breast by filling the dent with a small area of living tissue.
The surgeon may use tissue from your back to fill in the dent. This is called a latissimus dorsi flap (LD flap). There are other ways to carry out this procedure and your surgeon will talk you through it.
Reshaping might be an option if you need part of your breast removed and you have quite large breasts. It is called therapeutic mammoplasty. The surgeon removes the tumour and an area of surrounding healthy tissue. They then reshape the remaining breast tissue to create a smaller breast.
At the same time as your reconstructive surgery, you can also have surgery to make your other breast smaller (breast reduction), so they match in size. You can choose to have this at a later time.
Things you may wish to ask your surgeon: