Overview

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 (immediate reconstruction), or it can be done later (delayed reconstruction). The breast reconstruction process usually requires two or more operations — and several visits to your surgeon — 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.