Breast Cancer Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction plastic surgery can restore your breast to its natural shape, appearance, and size after a mastectomy.

There are two types of surgery which can be used to reconstruct the breast(s) - Autologous Breast Reconstruction and Breast Implant Reconstruction.

What is Autologous Breast Reconstruction?

Autologous breast reconstruction involves a plastic surgeon using your own tissues to make a new breast. Skin, fat and possibly muscle (called a flap) may be taken from your tummy DIEP, TRAM, or back Latissimus Dorsi Flap, and transplanted to your chest.

The surgery involves moving tissue from the tummy or back to the chest to recreate the breast shape. There are two procedures to choose from for autologous breast reconstruction:

  1. Tissue may be still attached to its original blood vessels (called a pedicled flap, such as TRAM or Back Flap) and transplanted under your skin to your chest.
  2. Or the tissue can be completely separated from its original blood vessels and transplanted to your chest using microsurgical techniques.

Which Autologous procedure is right for you?

The choice for which type of reconstruction you and your plastic surgeon decide to use depends on many factors, including:

  • Your preference
  • Your anatomy and health
  • Breast shape
  • Cancer treatment
  • Surgeon preference and experience
  • Available donor sites

These procedures can be done at the time of mastectomy (immediate) or at a later date (delayed). If you are having single-sided reconstruction, you may also choose to have a reduction or breast lift on the other side to help improve final symmetry.

Radiation or chemotherapy can affect the timeline for this reconstructive option and can increase the complication rates in some cases. These will be discussed during your consultation with your plastic surgeon.

See the following links for information on the various options for autologous breast reconstruction:

What is Breast Implant Reconstruction?

Breast implant reconstruction plastic surgery can restore your breast to a natural shape and appearance after a mastectomy. Many women report that breast reconstruction gives them confidence and makes them feel more like their old selves. Breast implant (alloplastic or non-autologous) reconstruction involves placing an implant beneath the skin and muscle layers of the chest in order to create a new breast.

Implant reconstruction may either be done in two stages (tissue expander then implant at a later date) or one stage (direct to implant).The decision is often dependent on factors such as:

  • Size
  • Shape of the native breast
  • Patient factors
  • The nature of the cancer (size, location, stage)
  • Need for adjuvant treatments like radiation and chemotherapy
  • Desired post-operative size.