Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Breast Reconstruction

Breast Reconstruction

What is breast reconstruction surgery?

With advances in breast reconstruction surgery, many women undergoing breast removal (mastectomy) choose to have their breast(s) rebuilt. Even though medical, surgical, and radiation therapy treatments for breast cancer have increased the number of breast-sparing procedures available, some breast cancer patients still need a mastectomy. In addition, other women have their breast(s) removed due to other diseases.

Breast reconstruction surgery involves creating a breast mound that comes as close as possible to the form and appearance of the natural breast.

The goal of reconstructive surgery is to create a breast mound that matches the opposite breast and to achieve symmetry. If both breasts have been removed, the goal of breast reconstructive surgery is to create both breast mounds about the size of the patient's natural breasts.

What are the criteria for breast reconstruction surgery?

In general, all women undergoing a mastectomy are candidates for immediate or delayed breast reconstruction. However, there are criteria for selecting the best candidates for the procedure:

When is breast reconstruction surgery performed?

The patient is usually educated and counseled in breast reconstructive options prior to mastectomy, so that she can make the decision for or against reconstruction before going into surgery. Based on the personal medical history of each patient, a recommendation will be made for either:

What complications are commonly associated with breast reconstructive surgery?

Any type of surgery carries some risk. Patients differ in their anatomy and their ability to heal. Some complications from breast reconstruction may include:

The most common complication of breast reconstruction surgery done with implants is capsular contracture, which occurs if the scar or capsule around the implant begins to tighten. Occasionally, this (and other) complications are severe enough to require a second operation.

What are the different types of breast reconstruction surgery?

Illustration of a breast side view, before and after reconstruction (Implant)
Click Image to Enlarge

The two most effective approaches available for both monolateral (one breast) and bilateral (both breasts) reconstruction are:

About the procedure:

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Online Resources of Plastic Surgery


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