Breast Reconstruction is a surgical procedure to rebuild a breast shape after mastectomy or prophylactic mastectomy. The breast is generally rebuilt to the same size and shape prior to mastectomy and the nipple (areola) can also be added. Every year there are more than 292,000 women in America facing a diagnosis of breast cancer. New types of treatment combined with improvements in reconstructive surgery provide women who have breast cancer today with better choices. If patients are considering having reconstructive surgery, our plastic surgeons suggest the patient meets for a consultation before their mastectomy. This allows our surgical team to plan the best treatment for each patient, even if they choose a delayed breast reconstruction rather than immediately following mastectomy.
The specific type of breast reconstruction procedure can vary and depends on the woman’s age, body type, and cancer treatment. The majority of women having undergone a mastectomy can also undergo breast reconstruction. Women who undergo a lumpectomy rather than a mastectomy may not necessarily need breast reconstruction. A surgical plan will be determined by Dr. Barone or Dr. Koltz, and your treatment team.
Patients who choose breast reconstruction do so for many reasons:
- To permanently regain their breast shape.
- To obtain a balanced look when they are wearing a bra or swimsuit.
- To avoid the need for an external prosthesis (a breast form worn inside the bra).
- To assist with improved body image and self-esteem following mastectomy.
Immediate or delayed breast reconstruction One-stage immediate breast reconstruction is done, or at least started immediately after the general surgeon removes the breast tissue. The advantages to this are the chest tissues are not damaged by radiation therapy or scarring, often with a final result that looks better, and of course, there is less surgery. Following the first surgery, there may still be a number of steps needed to complete the immediate reconstruction process. Dr. Peter Koltz or Dr. Frank Barone will discuss with each patient the entire process of immediate breast reconstruction.
“I’ve been through a lot of doctors through this journey of breast cancer, Dr. Barone is the best of them all. I would highly recommend him. His staff is the kindest and most considerate people I ever met in a doctor’s office.”
Two-stage delayed breast reconstruction means the reconstructive surgery is started later and is usually performed if using breast implants rather than a patient’s own tissue for reconstruction. This may be a better choice for some women who require radiation to the breast area following mastectomy.
Because breast reconstruction is so personal and can be a highly emotional decision, our plastic surgeons perform a detailed evaluation and discuss all options available to each patient so they can make an informed and educated choice. They will recommend an individualized treatment plan that ensures each patient has realistic goals and expectations for their breast reconstruction surgery.