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In some cases, your plastic surgeon can do breast reconstruction at the same time as your surgery to remove the cancer as long as it doesn’t interfere with any other treatments. If you’re getting adjuvant therapy (treatment done after surgery), your doctor may recommend delaying reconstruction until all treatments are finished. Whether your breast reconstruction is done during surgery or after all treatments are finished, the results will be the same. It’s possible to have breast reconstruction before or after chemotherapy or radiation therapy, but it should be delayed three to four weeks after chemotherapy and at least four to six weeks after radiation therapy.

If you’re not sure you want to have breast reconstruction, don't worry. Take your time – there’s no time limit for reconstruction. If you decide to have breast reconstruction, you’ll have the choice between many options, including:

  • Breast implants. These are filled with saline (salt water) or silicone and implanted into the breast.

  • Autologous breast reconstruction. Uses muscle and fat from other parts of the body to create a new breast.

  • Nipple reconstruction. Tissue can be taken from a newly created breast, the opposite breast’s nipple or other areas of the body like the labia or earlobe.

  • Areola reconstruction. Involves taking skin from another area of the body, such as the inner thigh or labia or tattooing the skin to match the colour of the unaffected breast.


What are the benefits of breast reconstruction?

The decision whether to have breast reconstruction is a very personal one and could be based on many different factors, such as lifestyle and physical or medical limitations. You may decide to have breast reconstruction because:

  • It helps remind you less of your breast cancer.

  • You may feel more attractive and comfortable with your body.

  • It may give you an increased sense of freedom.

Concerns about breast reconstruction:

Studies show that some women are opting for bilateral mastectomy or reconstruction to ease fear of recurrence. In some women, mastectomy is recommended. Getting a bilateral mastectomy may decrease the risk of having the cancer in the other breast but does not change the risk of the cancer developing in other parts of the body.

Women with early stage breast cancer may be able to choose between breast-conserving surgery or a mastectomy. Women who have mastectomy for early stage cancers often inquire about breast reconstruction to make the breasts look and feel as natural as possible.