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Breast reconstruction and breast oncoplastic surgery

Cosmetic breast reconstruction can help women recover from breast cancer psychologically as well as physically. Federal law requires that insurance companies pay for all or part of the cost of breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. This includes any surgery required on the opposite breast for symmetry.

What is oncoplastic breast surgery?

Many women with breast cancer are candidates for breast-conserving surgery, also called lumpectomy, partial mastectomy or quadrantectomy. This is when your surgeon removes only the tumor and leaves the remaining breast intact. Sometimes this surgery or radiation treatment will leave the breast misshapen. Oncoplastic surgery is the reshaping of the breast at the time of tumor removal to help prevent that. The opposite breast is reduced or lifted so they match.

Learn more about oncoplastic and reconstructive surgery options.

What is breast reconstructive surgery?

Some women need to have, or choose to have a mastectomy. This is the removal of all the breast tissue. Breast reconstructive surgery is the procedure of rebuilding a total breast after mastectomy. The nipple can also be reconstructed.

Federal law requires that insurance companies cover breast reconstruction after mastectomy.

There are two basic types of breast reconstruction:

  • Implants use a gel or saline implant to recreate the breast
  • Flaps use a woman’s own fat and skin tissue to rebuild the breast (such as DIEP flaps)

Learn more about breast reconstruction options.

When to have breast reconstruction

Your breast surgical oncologist and your reconstructive plastic surgeon will help you decide which option is best for you:

  • Simultaneous breast reconstruction – Immediate reconstruction of their breast(s) at the same time as a mastectomy, for women who do not need radiation therapy.
  • Staged breast reconstruction – Women who need radiation therapy may be advised to have staged breast reconstruction. A tissue expander will be inserted at the time of mastectomy to keep the breast skin stretched and supple in preparation for the final reconstruction, which will be done several months after radiation is completed.
  • Delayed breast reconstruction – Reconstruction months or even years after breast cancer treatment ends is also possible

Legacy Medical Group breast surgeons