Infographic: Breast Reconstruction Options

Feeling Whole After Breast Cancer.

About 1 in 8 women will have breast cancer in their lifetime.

35% of those women will have a mastectomy.

Removing one or both breasts may be required.

Healing doesn't end when the cancer is gone.

  • Many mastectomy patients experience poor body image, lowered sexual well-being and emotional distress.
  • Breast reconstruction helps many women feel whole again.

One study found women preferred immediate reconstruction to delayed reconstruction.

  • Significantly improved body image, self-esteem and feeling of attractiveness and satisfaction.
  • 95% satisfaction among immediate reconstruction group.
  • 76% of delayed reconstruction group would have preferred immediate reconstruction.

New approaches to breast reconstruction.

There are two primary types of breast reconstruction: implants or "flap" surgery that uses the patient's own tissue.

New pre-pectoral implants are faster, less painful.

  • Implants of silicone or saline recreate the breast shape.
  • Pre-pectoral implants are over (not under) the pectoral muscle.
  • In many cases the nipple can be preserved.
  • Surgery can be done at same time as mastectomy in many cases.
  • Pre-pectoral placement of implants eliminates any animation or movement of the implants with activity.
  • Usually less discomfort during the recovery process than placement below the muscle.

Advanced flap surgery lessens impact on body.

  • Flap surgery uses tissue from the patient's body, usually the abdomen, to reconstruct the breast.
  • In many cases the nipple can be preserved.
  • Surgery can be done at same time as mastectomy in many cases.
  • Flap reconstruction often provides the most natural and long-lasting results.
  • High satisfaction among patients in appearance and feel.
  • Newer DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforators) flap surgery minimizes any injury to the abdominal muscles.
  • DIEP flap lowers risk of complications from muscle removal.
  • DIEP flap techniques require specific surgical skills.

The best option for each patient is determined by a number of factors.

Each woman who desires reconstruction will have options available, although her specific situation may be better suited to one approach.

Stage and scale of the cancer

Reconstruction may be more challenging or riskier for late-stage cancer patients.

Radiation therapy

Implants may not be an option for patients receiving radiation as the radiation treatment can adversely impact effectiveness.

Body condition

The size and feel of the breast to be reconstructed may be better recreated with certain procedures.