Breast reconstruction is a personal choice. There is no one "best" reconstruction for every woman. Instead, each woman will have her own best reconstruction, the one that she, in consultation with her doctors and perhaps her loved ones, feels is best. The following information is offered to help you make an informed decision.
Please feel free to ask your care providers any questions you may have regarding any of these reconstruction methods. These recommendations are meant only as general information. It is not designed as a substitute for a thorough discussion of your own case with your caregivers.
For many years, it was felt that breast reconstruction should be delayed for some time, usually six to 12 months after the mastectomy. That way, any tumor that returned could be detected.
More recent information indicates that breast reconstruction has no effect on finding a tumor that comes back and has no effect on your life expectancy. Since the women who choose reconstruction often feel better about themselves after breast reconstruction and because the surgeon often can do a better job if reconstruction is done at the time of mastectomy, immediate reconstruction is often recommended.
An additional benefit of immediate reconstruction is that it decreases the need for additional reconstructive surgery to complete your breast reconstruction. Therefore, if you are planning to have reconstruction, we advise you to have immediate (at the same time), rather than delayed reconstruction.
The goal of breast reconstruction is to provide the most natural looking and feeling breast possible, with as little discomfort to you as possible. In addition, to have a good cosmetic outcome, both breasts should look the same; that is, they should be about the same size and shape.
The breast consists of a "breast mound" and the nipple. Both the breast mound and the nipple can be reconstructed, although this is usually done at two separate surgeries. Part of the discussion should include the benefits and risks of changing the size of your other breast to create a better match.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.