Breast reconstruction can be done at the time of your mastectomy (Immediate Reconstruction) or at some point afterwards (Delayed Reconstruction). Reconstruction may be accomplished by the use of a breast implant, your own tissues, or a combination of the two. The breast reconstruction procedure and products that are right for you will vary depending on your desired outcome, personal preferences, and several clinical factors.
Here we will discuss the difference between immediate (at the time of the mastectomy) and delayed (at any time after the mastectomy) breast reconstruction using breast implants. Product options for implant-based breast reconstruction are listed in some detail. Use the information provided on these pages as an educational resource, rather than a comprehensive guide to breast reconstruction surgery. We recommend a consultation with your plastic surgeon to answer any additional questions you may have.
Breast reconstruction using your own tissue without the use of implants is called autologous (referring to your own tissue) flap surgery. An autologous flap procedure uses a combination of skin, fat, and/or muscle that is moved from areas such as your abdomen, upper back, upper hip, or buttocks to the chest where it is shaped into a new breast. Not every woman is a candidate for this type of breast reconstruction, and it is best to discuss the pros and cons of these procedures with your surgeon.