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Breast Reconstruction

Breast Reconstruction Facts

Patient Comments

Breast reconstruction refers to one or more operations performed to restore some of the components of the breast of women who have undergone mastectomy (removal of the entire breast). Breast reconstruction after mastectomy has evolved over the last several decades to become an integral component in the therapy for many women with breast cancer. A complete breast reconstruction includes recreating the breast mound, the nipple and areola complex so that the breasts are symmetric with regard to pigmentation, shape, size, projection, and position.

The goals of breast reconstruction include the following:

  • to provide permanent breast contour
  • to make the breasts look balanced
  • to give the convenience of not requiring an external prosthesis

Breast reconstruction can be performed using the following:

  • artificial material (silicone shell filled with either silicone gel or saline [a salt-water solution]) placed under the skin
  • The woman's own tissues (skin, muscle, fat) from another part of the body (flap reconstruction).
    • Pedicled flap: In this type of flap reconstruction, the tissues remain partially connected to the area of the body from which they are taken. Specifically, the original blood supply to the transplanted tissues is left intact.
    • Free flap: In this type of flap reconstruction, the tissues are cut off from the original area and grafted to the chest. The blood vessels are attached to establish a new blood supply is created for the grafted tissues.
  • a combination of artificial material and the woman's own tissues
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/29/2016
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Breast Reconstruction:

Breast Reconstruction -- Patient Experience

Tell us about your breast reconstruction.

Breast Reconstruction -- Surgical Complications

Did you have surgical complications with your breast reconstruction? Tell us about it.

Breast cancer awareness

What is Mastectomy?

Mastectomy vs Lumpectomy

Some factors that may influence a woman to choose a mastectomy over a lumpectomy are:

  • If the tumor is large and, after the lumpectomy, very little breast tissue would remain
  • If she does not want to undergo radiation therapy after the surgery
  • If she believes she will have less anxiety about a recurrence of breast cancer with a mastectomy

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Breast Reconstruction, Expander-Implant »

The goal of breast reconstruction is to recreate symmetric natural-appearing breasts while preserving patient safety and quality of life.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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