Breast reconstruction is a personalized journey, and it may be challenging to navigate the options, especially in the face of getting treatment for breast cancer. Some women will need to quickly decide on the route they want to pursue if they are having surgery prior to other treatments.

The type of reconstruction you choose will also depend on what type of breast surgery you have to remove a tumor. The options for those undergoing a lumpectomy will be different than those having a double mastectomy.

To help make the process a little bit easier, here is everything you need to know about breast reconstruction surgery so you can choose the right option for you.

Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Breast reconstruction surgery helps rebuild the shape and appearance of the breasts or creates them entirely if a complete mastectomy is performed. Depending on your medical history and body type, your doctor may recommend one of the following surgical options to achieve your desired results.

Implant-Based Reconstruction

An implant-based breast reconstruction is performed using breast implants to recreate the shape of the breasts after the natural breast tissue has been removed. The breast implants used are either silicone or saline-based.

Autologous or Flap Reconstruction

This technique uses your own tissue from other parts of the body to reconstruct the shape of the breasts. Most commonly, tissue is taken from a donor site on the abdomen or back and then transferred to the chest to create a new breast mound. Flap reconstruction can be an excellent option for many women as it can provide a more natural look and feel to the breast when completed. However, it is a more complex procedure that may require additional healing time than implant-based procedures.

Combination Reconstruction

In some cases, a combination procedure of both implant and autologous reconstructive methods is used to reconstruct the breasts. Combining the two techniques can help women achieve their desired look and feel.

Nipple and Areola Reconstruction

Once the breast mound has been reconstructed, the nipple and areola can be recreated through additional surgical procedures. Techniques can vary depending on the desired look of the nipple and areola. Options include tattooing, skin grafts, or tissue rearrangements.

Fat Grafting

Fat grafting is a procedure performed to improve the contour and symmetry of the breasts. It involves transferring fat from the abdomen or thighs into the new breast mounds to achieve the desired results. This technique can be used in conjunction with other reconstructive methods or on its own.

What Is the Process of Breast Reconstruction?

Before undergoing breast reconstruction, you will consult with your surgeon to discuss your goals for the procedure and your options. They will walk you through the pros and cons of each method and ensure you feel good about your decision. If needed, your plastic surgeon will coordinate with your oncologic surgeon.

What Are the Risks and Complications of Breast Reconstruction?

Like with any surgical procedure, breast reconstruction surgery has potential risks and complications you should be aware of before having the procedure. The most common complications include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Rupture of the implant
  • Displacement of the implant
  • Capsular contracture
  • Change in sensation to the breasts
  • Scar tissue formation

Choosing the Breast Reconstruction Surgery for You

If you are considering breast reconstruction surgery as part of your breast cancer treatment plan or have questions about what reconstruction surgery option is right for you, schedule a complimentary consultation today.

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