Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure that restores shape to your breast after mastectomy — surgery that removes your breast to treat or prevent breast cancer.

One type of breast reconstruction uses breast implants — silicone devices filled with silicone gel or salt water (saline) — to reshape your breasts. Breast reconstruction with breast implants is a complex procedure performed by a plastic surgeon.

The breast reconstruction process can start at the time of your mastectomy, or it can be done later. The breast reconstruction process usually requires two or more operations — and several visits to your doctor — to insert, position and fill the breast implants.

Breast reconstruction won't re-create the exact look and feel of your natural breast. However, the contour of your new breast may restore a silhouette similar to what you had before mastectomy.

Feb. 15, 2014