Skip to Content

Mastectomy/Breast Reconstruction

Mastectomy or breast removal—total or partial—is often followed by breast reconstruction. Multiple options are available for your breast reconstruction. Timing should also be a consideration. This process can start at the time of your mastectomy or done at a later date. During your consultation, these options will be discussed with your surgeon.

Mastectomy with Implant Before/After Image

Before (left) and after (right) breast mastectomy with implants 

About the Procedures 
You and the surgeon discuss your condition, health, age, personal anatomy, and your goals and expectations. It’s best to have a frank exchange and understand that reconstruction is intended to improve your condition, appearance and well-being.

To make room for the implant, one approach is to create excess skin by inserting a balloon expander. The surgeon will gradually add fluid to the balloon over time to stretch the skin and force it to grow. When the balloon is large enough, it will be removed and replaced by the implant.

A second technique is to remove a portion of skin from elsewhere on the body to form a flap of tissue with which to reconstruct the breast. This may come from the back, abdomen or buttocks. The flap consists of tissue, fat, and muscle with its blood supply. In one approach, this material is tunneled under the skin from the back, for example, to form the pocket for the insert or to form the breast mound itself. Another technique removes the flap material from its original location and transplants it at the breast site. This requires microvascular surgery. The flap technique without an implant is complex and takes longer to heal, but it is totally natural. Additional procedures may be needed to adjust the breast after healing or to ensure breasts are more symmetrical.

Breast reconstruction is performed in a hospital and recovery there will last two to five days followed by two weeks of recovery at home. Recovery time is less if flaps are not involved. Physical and sexual activity should be avoided for three to six weeks. Scars will fade with time, but never totally disappear. Sensation of some kind may return, but it will not be the sensation of the natural breast. The appearance of your reconstructed breast will not be identical to your other breast, but in most cases the differences will be noticeable only to you.

You can review one OMC plastic surgery patient’s experiences and results related to this procedure by clicking here.

View a short animated video describing the mastectomy/breast reconstruction procedure.

Contact Us

OMC's plastic surgery department can be reached Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (except on holidays), at:

tel: 507.529.6740 

fax: 507.529.6741

Mailing address:

Olmsted Medical Center
Attn: Plastic Surgery 
1650 Fourth Street SE 
Rochester, MN 55904

Related Locations