Breast reconstruction surgery replaces the skin, nipple and breast tissue that are removed during a mastectomy. The decision to undergo breast reconstruction after cancer surgery is a deeply personal choice. Women commonly choose to have the surgery because it can:
- Improve emotional and social well-being
- Restore feelings of wholeness and attractiveness
- Eliminate the need to wear an external prosthesis
Our plastic surgeons will work with your oncologists to plan your reconstruction surgeries around your other cancer treatments.
Types of Breast Reconstruction
Roswell Park offers both immediate breast reconstruction (which takes place at the time of your mastectomy) and delayed reconstruction (performed months or even years after breast cancer surgery).
Our surgeons typically use one of these approaches to reconstruct a breast:
- Implant reconstruction, which involves inserting an implant made of silicone or saline (saltwater). This can be performed in single stage (direct implant placement) or in two stages (placement of an expander followed by implant placement)
- Autologous or flap reconstruction, which uses skin, fat and occasionally muscle tissue from other body areas, such as the abdomen, back, thighs or buttocks
- Combination of implants and your own tissue
Your reconstruction options will depend on your disease status and overall health, breast size and shape, your cancer treatment plan (such as whether you had or will have radiation therapy) and your preferences.
Will Insurance Cover My Breast Reconstruction?
Federal law (Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998) requires group health insurance plans (including Medicare and Medicaid) that cover mastectomy costs to also cover reconstruction surgery or other post-mastectomy treatments for female breast cancer patients. Required coverage includes:
- All stages of reconstruction on the affected breast
- Procedures to the other breast to create symmetry
- Prostheses and treatment of physical side effects of mastectomy, such as lymphedema
From a survivor
"I was not the least bit concerned about having a mastectomy. But this time, after the mastectomy, my surgeon suggested that I consider breast reconstruction..."
Breast Cancer Survivor, Sara Norton, shares her experience.Read More
How Soon After Mastectomy Can I Have Reconstruction?
You may undergo breast reconstruction at any time. You may wish to explore reconstruction as soon as you receive your diagnosis, or you may decide to wait for years after your treatment. Learning about your reconstruction options and the outcome you can expect should be part of your cancer treatment planning — even if you opt to delay reconstruction or put off your decision until a later time.
Make an Appointment
Schedule a consultation online or call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355). Appointments are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Consultations are also available at Roswell Park's Amherst Center.