Reconstruction After Breast Cancer: Three Questions to Ask Your Surgeon

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Samuel Bartholomew, MD, FACS

Breast reconstruction is an important part of a multi-disciplinary approach to treating breast cancer. Breast cancer patients should consider scheduling a consultation with a plastic surgeon to discuss whether breast reconstruction is right for them.

What options are available for post-mastectomy breast reconstruction?

The two main types of breast reconstruction include “flap reconstruction,” which makes use of a woman’s own tissue (typically from the abdomen or back), and a breast implant-based approach to reconstruction. A breast implant-based approach is often done in stages to lower the risk of complications. The first surgery creates a breast “mound,” and is later followed by nipple and areola reconstruction.

What type of breast reconstruction is the right choice for me?

A plastic surgeon will help you decide which option is best by discussing your goals, medical history, physical characteristics, and potential post-mastectomy treatments to make a tailored recommendation. After receiving information and options, you should feel empowered to make an informed decision about which reconstruction technique is right for you.

Can I have breast reconstruction if I have already undergone a mastectomy?

Yes. This is called a “delayed reconstruction” and can be done any time after the initial mastectomy. Some factors such as the need for radiation therapy, smoking, or other co-morbidities may favor delaying reconstruction to decrease the risk of complications. Whether it is 1 month or 10 years after mastectomy surgery, the same options are available for breast reconstruction

Dr. Samuel Bartholomew, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon
Dr. Samuel Bartholomew is a board-certified Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon at The Oregon Clinic. He specializes in breast reconstruction; abdominoplasty; breast augmentation, reduction, and lift; hand surgery, and complex wound reconstruction.