Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy
Following a mastectomy, or breast removal, an Olmsted Medical Center (OMC) plastic surgeon can reconstruct your breasts. This procedure aims to restore a natural-looking appearance, shape, and size, so you feel more like yourself.
When Does Reconstruction Happen?
Breast reconstruction can begin either immediately after mastectomy or at another time. If you’ll need radiation therapy following mastectomy, your doctor likely will recommend waiting until treatment ends before you pursue reconstruction.
Types of Breast Reconstruction
You and your surgeon will discuss which type of surgery is right for your body, health, and goals:
- Reconstruction using gel or saline implants – To prepare your body for this surgery, a doctor places a tissue expander under the skin of your chest. The surgeon slowly fills the expander with fluid over a few months to stretch the skin and make space for an implant.
- Flap reconstruction – This procedure creates a new breast using tissue from elsewhere in your body, such as your abdomen or side.
A surgeon might combine implant and flap procedures to create a more natural-looking breast. No matter what approach you choose, the plastic surgery team will help you envision what you may look like after treatment.
For details about surgery, view a short, animated breast reconstruction video.
Nipple & Areola Reconstruction
A few months after breast reconstruction, a plastic surgeon can reconstruct the nipple and areola using tissue from the new breast or another part of the body. Tattooing, or micropigmentation, gives the new nipple and areola a natural color. You may even ask the surgeon to provide only a tattoo, not nipple and areola reconstruction.
Before & After Photos
See photos of an OMC patient before and after breast reconstruction with implants.
Complete Breast Care
If you have just one breast removed and reconstructed, you might consider a breast lift, augmentation, or reduction for the other breast to make it look similar in size and position. Continue to follow preventive breast care steps for your natural breast to protect your long-term health.
Following a double mastectomy, Vicki was grateful to receive breast reconstruction surgery at Olmsted Medical Center. “I truly thank the plastic surgery team for giving me back what cancer took from me—and doing it in such an endearing manner,” she said. Read more about Vicki’s journey.