How Does Breast Reconstruction Work?

What Is Breast Reconstruction?

Many women who endure a mastectomy may have their excised breast reshaped. In this case, breast reconstruction may be needed to rebuild the breast with implants, using saline or silicone, or autologous tissue based on size and shape. Sometimes a mix of the two is needed to meet the correct shape and size.

Breast reconstruction may be done immediately after a mastectomy or after the wounds have healed and treatment is complete. However, keep in mind that reconstruction may be delayed for months or even years following a mastectomy.

Types Of Breast Reconstruction

There are two types of reconstructive surgery:


An expander is used in this approach to generate a breast hump. It might be followed by the insertion of a filled breast implant. This type of procedure will make the breast appear full and perky.  You can consult top-rated plastic surgeons for more information about this procedure.

Autologous Tissue:

This procedure involves reconstructing a new breast mound using your body tissues. Utilizing your own tissue will make the breast feel and look more natural. Following this procedure, incisions will be made not only in the chest area but also in the place where the tissue was taken. This procedure is ideal for those who may not want huge breasts.

Breast Reconstruction Surgery Procedure:

Before Breast Reconstruction Surgery:

After a mastectomy or a lumpectomy, breast reconstruction is an optional procedure if you feel insecure about the appearance of your breasts. Keep in mind that in some instances, chemotherapy and radiation treatment must be done before breast reconstruction surgery, specifically if you have breast cancer. Once it is completed, you will be able to schedule a consultation with your plastic surgeon to discuss breast reconstruction. Your surgeon will discuss your objectives and  surgical alternatives. Also, he or she will address any questions or concerns.

Your surgeon will perform a thorough examination. During this time, your breasts will be measured and scanned. You will be asked about your medical history. Be sure to be honest and open to your provider regarding your medical history, medicines, and any operations you’ve had. 

After Breast Reconstruction Surgery:

You may have to remain in the hospital for up to a week after surgery. Your medical team will observe or monitor your progress to make sure you’re recuperating properly. You will feel a significant amount of pain but it will eventually subside as you heal. Medications will be given to you to help control the pain. When it is time for you to be discharged, your physician will provide you with detailed instructions on how to care for yourself. Be sure to follow these recommendations so that your breasts heal adequately.

Your doctor may recommend you to continue to take prescription or over-the-counter pain relievers to ensure you are comfortable throughout the healing process. When taking medicine, do not take more than the recommended dosage.  You will be permitted to wear a surgical bra that will support your breasts and prevent swelling while they heal. It is critical to understand that the ultimate outcomes of breast reconstruction might take up to two months. So, be patient with your body while it recovers.

Keep in mind that after recovery,  you may need further surgery to match your breasts. This will ensure your breasts are symmetrical and that they are proportionate with your body.  It might involve breast reduction or augmentation surgery. 

Factors That Can Affect The Timing Of Breast Reconstruction:

Radiation therapy may delay breast reconstruction. Some women postpone reconstruction because radiation treatment might create wound healing problems or infections. Due to advancements in surgery and radiation, however, women have the option of using their own tissue instead of silicone or saline implants. After radiation treatment, autologous breast reconstruction is utilized to rebuild breast and chest wall tissue.

The type of breast cancer is another factor that determines the  breast reconstruction treatment and when it can be done . In most cases, women with inflammatory breast cancer need more extensive skin excision. This means the recovery time may be much longer. Even if a woman is qualified to have breast reconstruction immediately, the choice of delaying the procedure is always optional. Some women wait until after their mastectomy and adjuvant treatment to decide on breast reconstruction. Women who postpone reconstruction (or don’t undergo it) may use external breast prostheses, also called breast forms.

Bottom Line:

Breast reconstruction is a life-changing procedure that will restore the appearance or look of your breasts as well as your confidence following a mastectomy. The technique used depends on the needs of your breasts as well as your goals. This can be discussed with a board-certified plastic surgeon during consultation. If you are unhappy with the appearance of your breasts due to a recent lumpectomy, consult an experienced and qualified plastic surgeon in your area.