Breast reconstruction — surgery to rebuild a breast's shape — is often an option after mastectomy. Some health insurance plans pay for all or part of the cost of the breast reconstruction and also for surgery to the other breast so that both breasts are about the same shape and size.
Reconstruction will not give you back your breast. Although the reconstructed breast will not have natural sensation, the surgery can give you a result that looks like a breast.
If you are thinking about reconstruction, you should talk with a plastic surgeon before your mastectomy. Some women begin reconstruction at the same time as the mastectomy is done; others wait several months or even years.
The material in the above sections is taken in its entirety from the National Cancer Institute Booklet (No. 98-4251) entitled, "Understanding Breast Cancer Treatment: A Guide for Patients."
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.