10 Things to Understand About Breast Reconstruction

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Finding the Right Doctor for Breast Reconstruction

Many factors go into making this very personal decision.
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7.   You May Be Able to Keep Your Own Nipples or Areola

During a mastectomy, your surgeon may be able to remove your breast but leave your nipple and/or areola. This is called a nipple-sparing mastectomy or areola-sparing mastectomy. It depends on the stage and location of your breast cancer. Although your nipple or areola is saved, they may not have much sensation because they no longer have nerves. You may still enjoy having the look of your own nipple or areola.


8.   Even If You’re Only Reconstructing One Breast, Your Other Breast May Need Surgery

Reconstructed breasts may have a different shape, size or lift than your remaining breast. For this reason, your surgeon may recommend you have surgery to reshape your healthy breast to match the reconstructed one. This can typically be done during one of the reconstruction surgeries.

9.   A Reconstructed Breast Will Not Be Just Like Your Former Breast

Whether your reconstruction uses implants, your own tissue, or a combination, your new breast will not have the same shape, texture, size or sensitivity as your former breast. Your new breast will have scars. And it may change shape and appearance with time. Still, many women are very happy with their reconstructed breasts. New breasts often help with the emotional recovery from breast cancer, and can help you feel better about your appearance again.


10. You Might Still Need Mammograms After Breast Reconstruction 

You may still need to have mammograms after you have breast reconstruction. Your doctor can help you determine your need for mammograms. If you need to have mammograms, use a mammogram facility that has experience taking and reading mammograms of reconstructed breasts, and tell your mammogram technician if you have implants.

It can be very difficult to lose your breasts in a mastectomy. Breast reconstruction can provide you with new breasts through a variety of techniques. If you’re interested in reconstruction, it’s important to work with your doctor as soon as possible. Your surgeon will talk about whether reconstruction is an option for you, and if so, what types of reconstructions could work best for you.

Medical Reviewers: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Review Date: Sep 23, 2013

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Medical References

2. Breast reconstruction procedural steps. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/reconstructive-procedures/breast-reconstruction.html?sub=Breast%20reco...
3. New choices in breast cancer surgery and reconstruction. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/moreinformation/breastreconstructionaftermastectomy/breast...
6. Breast Reconstruction Options. Susan G. Komen for the Cure. http://ww5.komen.org/Content.aspx?id=19327354457.
7. Choosing Your Plastic Surgeon for Breast Reconstruction. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/moreinformation/breastreconstructionaftermastectomy/breast...

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