Breast Reconstruction After Breast Cancer

Breast Reconstruction After Breast Cancer

Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis is likely one of the most difficult things a woman can experience. Going through the treatments, including lumpectomy, mastectomy, radiation treatments, and chemotherapy, can leave them feeling like they’re not even themselves anymore. Breast reconstruction can offer an option to restore your pre-cancer appearance and boost confidence. However, like any surgery, it’s important to completely understand and explore treatment options before committing to a surgical intervention. On this page, we’ll review the basic details of breast reconstruction surgery, but it’s important to talk through this procedure with a professional. When you’re ready to learn more, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery – a division of U.S. Dermatology Partners to schedule a consultation.

What Is Breast Reconstruction Surgery?

Following a mastectomy or lumpectomy related to breast cancer, breast reconstruction surgery offers the opportunity to rebuild the lost structure. Breast reconstruction can be accomplished using implants, tissue from other parts of the body, or a combination of the two. Breast reconstruction may be started right away after a mastectomy or it can be delayed until after the mastectomy or lumpectomy site has healed and additional cancer treatments are completed. In addition to restoring the removed shape and breast structure, reconstruction may include repairing or re-creating the nipple and areola. If only one breast was impacted by cancer, breast reconstruction surgery may be performed on the unaffected breast to restore symmetry, if desired.

Benefits of Breast Reconstruction

The decision to move forward with breast reconstruction is very personal, but some of the benefits that lead people to move forward with breast reconstruction include:

  • Eliminate the need for breast forms and devices – These devices restore the lost structure, but they require a lot of work to keep in place and don’t feel natural.
  • Renewed symmetry – The proportions and balance of the chest can be uneven after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Breast reconstruction can improve this balance and symmetry.
  • Restored self-confidence – The loss of breast tissue can leave many women feeling self-conscious and restoring that tissue can make a real difference in their confidence.
  • Better fitting clothes – Following mastectomy or lumpectomy, clothing may not fit well, leading women to feel uncomfortable in their clothes. Reconstruction will help to restore the breasts to as close to the natural shape and structure as possible.

Recovery After Breast Reconstruction

Following breast reconstruction, your plastic surgeon will walk you through how to care for your surgical site. Follow all instructions precisely to ensure that wounds heal quickly. You’ll also get medication to help with the pain. Rest is one of the most important factors for healing. When we rest, our bodies are able to heal, so plan to take some time off work and get plenty of sleep every day.

Risks Associated with Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Like other surgeries, breast reconstruction can lead to concerns during or after treatment, including:

  • Adverse response to anesthesia
  • Bleeding
  • Loss of sensitivity (temporary or permanent)
  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Seroma (fluid buildup below the surgical site)
  • Hematoma (blood buildup below the surgical site)
  • Swelling
  • Surgical site necrosis (reconstructed or grafted tissue failure)
  • Hardening of implant
  • Implant leaking


Chris Surek, DO

Chris Surek, DO

Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon
Daniel Bortnick, MD

Daniel Bortnick, MD

Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon
MyChi Le, MD

MyChi Le, MD

Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon