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Summary of Reconstruction Techniques

Which Breast Reconstruction Option is Right for You?

Since each option and technique has its advantages and disadvantages and each woman has her unique goals, expectations and individual body type, there is no one choice that is best for all patients.

Other factors, such as radiation therapy, medical condition and if one or both breasts are being reconstructed, will influence which options you should consider. Your plastic surgeon will offer you recommendations based on these variables after examining you and learning about your specific situation.

  Expander/Implant Tissue Reconstruction
Surgery 2 or 3 surgeries Usually 2 surgeries
General Anesthesia Yes Yes
Hospitalization First Stage: Usually 1-2 days
Second Stage: Outpatient
Usually 4-5 days
Recovery Period 2-3 weeks 4-6 weeks
Need for Multiple Office Visits Yes (for expansion) Yes
Scars Mastectomy scar only Mastectomy scar and donor site scar
Shape and Consistency No natural sag; flat across front;
may be firm
More natural shape; soft
Opposite Breast More changes usually needed
to achieve a match in a bra
Fewer changes usually required
to achieve a match in a bra
Skin Sensation Altered in surgical areas Altered in surgical areas
Potential Problems Breast hardening with shape change;
skin ripples, infection; rupture
Abdominal weakness or bulge (TRAM);
partial breast hardening; total flap loss

Breast Reconstruction FAQs