Restores the appearance of breasts that have been surgically removed
because of cancer or other diseases. Breast reconstruction can help
a woman's breasts look balanced while wearing a bra, permanently regain
breast contour, and to give the convenience of not needing an external
Usually, 1 to 2 hours. Due to microsurgery required to reconnect blood
vessels, flap reconstruction surgeries) will take longer.
Loss of normal sensation to the breast, though some feeling may return.
May take about 6 weeks to recover from a combined mastectomy and reconstruction
or from a flap reconstruction alone. Most scars fade over time, but
may take a few years to lighten.
Bleeding, fluid collection, excessive scar tissue, infection, and
problems with anesthesia. The implant can shift or leak, requiring
its removal. Using an implant carries a remote risk of infection or
capsular contraction, a condition that makes the scar, implant, and
breast feel hard. Capsular contracture may be treated with additional
surgery to remove the scar tissue. With any flap procedure, there is
risk that it may not reattach well to blood vessels, block blood flow
and reject the flap.
Permanent. Usually require follow-up procedures.
New technology and techniques have made it possible for surgeons to
recreate a new breast that closely matches a natural breast. A patient's
own body tissue is used in various operations known as a TRAM, DIEP
and EARLi procedures. Breast reconstruction often takes place immediately
after a breast is removed (mastectomy) while the patient is still under