If you are facing the loss of a breast due to cancer or other disease, you may have the option of breast reconstruction. Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure to recreate the contour of your breast using either an implant or your own tissue. Reconstruction can be at the time of your mastectomy (immediate) or months to years afterwards (delayed). Any type of surgical reconstruction may take several steps to complete. The type of reconstruction available to you depends on your medical situation, your breast shape and size, your health and your personal goals.
An implant reconstruction uses a gel filled breast form to create a new breast. Using your own tissue, called a tissue flap, is a section of skin, fat and muscle with is moved from you stomach, back or other area of your body to your chest area and shaped into a new breast.
Immediate reconstruction means that the procedure begins at the same time as the mastectomy so that the process is already underway. A delayed reconstruction takes place after other treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy are completed. This also allows you more time if you need to consider your options.