Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy

Mass General plastic surgeons specialize in all types of breast reconstruction after mastectomy to recreate natural-looking breasts.

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Mass General offers many options for breast reconstruction, including:

Goal of Breast ReconstructionIf you have a mastectomy to treat or prevent cancer, breast reconstruction can surgically recreate a natural-looking breast. The procedure can be performed at the time of your mastectomy or at a later date.

  • After a single mastectomy (when only one breast is removed), the goal of reconstructive surgery is to create a new breast that matches your opposite breast and achieves the best possible symmetry
  • After a double mastectomy (when both breasts are removed), the goal is to create breasts that match the size and shape of your natural breasts prior to mastectomy

Your plastic surgeon helps you determine the size and shape of the breast(s) you want and, with the input of your cancer treatment team, which procedure is the best for you.

Why Choose Mass General for Your Procedure

  • Harvard affiliated
  • 500+ breast reconstruction procedures per year
  • Coordinated care with your entire cancer team
  • Highly experienced in the latest procedures

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Immediate vs. Delayed ReconstructionBreast reconstruction generally requires several procedures. Many women can begin breast reconstruction at the time of mastectomy (immediate reconstruction). Delayed reconstruction typically happens weeks or months after the mastectomy and often depends on whether you are undergoing radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy amongst other factors.

Other factors may affect whether you are a candidate for immediate reconstruction or delayed reconstruction, including:

  • Your goals for surgery
  • Size and location of your cancer or tumor
  • Whether radiation therapy or aging has damaged the tissue
  • How much skin and tissue is removed during the mastectomy
  • How tissue is removed from the breast
  • The health of the remaining breast tissue
  • Your overall health
  • If you smoke or quit smoking recently
  • If you are obese
  • Potential for complications
  • Co-existing illnesses (e.g. cardiac disease, diabetes mellitus)

Breast Reconstruction at Mass GeneralOur plastic surgeons have extensive experience in all types of breast reconstructive techniques, including the newest and most innovative procedures. When appropriate, we combine techniques, using flaps, implants and nipple tattooing, to achieve the most natural-looking outcome.

All forms of breast reconstruction after mastectomy have inherent risks, which will be fully discussed during your consultation.

Study shows positive outcome in breast reconstruction surgery

A new MGH study is one of the first to detail the outcomes of breast reconstruction surgery after having a nipple-sparing mastectomy, and this new, hard data, researchers say, is good news.