Breast reconstruction is an elective (optional) surgery for women that have had their entire breast (mastectomy), or part of their breast (lumpectomy), removed. This type of surgery rebuilds a breast mound or improves a breast deformity. Breast reconstruction is performed by a plastic surgeon and is covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).
The choice to have breast reconstruction is yours to make. We hope this information will help you make your decision. You and those close to you should talk with your health care team about any questions and concerns you have.
Is breast reconstruction for me?
Breast reconstruction is a personal choice. It can have psychological and physical benefits, and may let you avoid the use of an artificial breast. It is important that you are well informed and confident in your decision. Breast reconstruction can be a lengthy process needing a number of surgeries and recoveries. For women with serious medical problems or advanced cancer, breast reconstruction may not be a reasonable option.
When should I have breast reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction surgery can happen at the same time as a mastectomy or months to years after a mastectomy. If you need further cancer treatment after surgery, such as radiation therapy, it may be best to delay breast reconstruction surgery.
What are my breast reconstruction options?
There are two major types of breast reconstruction:
- Implant reconstruction, or
Using your own tissue, usually from the abdomen, to reconstruct your breast(s).
Sometimes, a combination of techniques using your own tissue with an implant may be offered.
Each type of breast reconstruction has advantages and disadvantages. Your plastic surgeon will discuss all your options and answer any questions you have so you are confident in your decision. Once the breast reconstruction is complete, your plastic surgeon may discuss the need for future touch-up procedures. This may include balancing surgery on your other breast, such as a reduction or a lift, to improve the balance of your breasts.