American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Breast Reconstruction

Know Your Post-Mastectomy Options

Breast reconstruction is achieved through several plastic surgery techniques that attempt to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance and size following mastectomy.

Breast reconstruction risks and safety

The decision to have breast reconstruction surgery is extremely personal. You'll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.

Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedures you will undergo and any risks or potential complications. The decision to pursue breast reconstruction does not change your risk of breast cancer recurrence.

The possible risks of breast reconstruction include, but are not limited to, bleeding, infection, poor healing of incisions and anesthesia risks. You should also know that:

  • Flap surgery includes the risk of partial or complete loss of the flap and a loss of sensation at both the donor and reconstruction site.
  • The use of implants carries the risk of breast firmness (capsular contracture) and implant rupture.

Breast implants do not impair breast health. Careful review of scientific research conducted by independent groups such as the Institute of Medicine has found no proven link between breast implants and autoimmune or other systemic diseases.

Information on Breast Implant-Associated ALCL

Visit for current information.

Where will my surgery be performed?

Surgery for your breast reconstruction is most often performed in a hospital setting, possibly including a short hospital stay, and your doctor will likely use general anesthesia. Some follow-up procedures may be performed on an outpatient basis, and local anesthesia with sedation may be used. These decisions will be based on the requirements of your specific procedure and in consideration of your preferences and your doctor's best judgment.


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