Each year over 180,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. While not every patient chooses to have breast reconstruction, women who do have breast reconstruction report an increase in their self-confidence, heightened emotional well-being, and an improved body image. Breast reconstruction is performed through several different techniques to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance and size following mastectomy.
The techniques used in breast reconstruction are highly variable. The procedure can be performed immediately after mastectomy, or may be delayed several months or years. Different procedures performed include breast reconstruction using tissue expanders and implants, one-stage breast reconstruction with an implant, breast reconstruction using adjacent tissue (flap) with or without an implant, and microsurgical breast reconstruction utilizing the patient’s own tissue to re-create a soft and natural-feeling breast. Sometimes, if just one breast requires surgical reconstruction, procedures may be required on the other breast to achieve symmetry. These procedures can include breast lift (mastopexy), breast augmentation or breast reduction.