Some women who plan to have a mastectomy decide to have breast reconstruction. Other women prefer to wear a breast form (prosthesis) inside their bra. Others decide to do nothing after surgery. All of these options have pros and cons. What is right for one woman may not be right for another. What is important is that nearly every woman treated for breast cancer has choices.

Breast reconstruction may be done at the same time as the mastectomy, or later on. If radiation therapy is part of the treatment plan, some breast cancer doctors suggest waiting until after radiation therapy is complete.

If you are thinking about breast reconstruction, you should talk to a plastic surgeon before the mastectomy, even if you plan to have your reconstruction later on.

Oncoplastic Breast Cancer Surgery

Today, women undergoing mastectomies for breast cancer have the advantage of significant advances in reconstructive breast surgery and leading-edge oncoplastic techniques that allow the skilled breast surgeon to preserve the envelope of the breast and sometimes the nipple for exceptional cosmetic outcomes. 

Oncoplastic breast cancer surgery combines the optimal techniques of breast cancer surgery and plastic surgery to give patients an appealing outcome. Women who undergo successful oncoplastic breast cancer surgery have higher self-esteem and a more positive self-image than women who have a traditional mastectomy. Oncoplastic techniques are also used in breast-conserving surgery or lumpectomy.

Some of the benefits of oncoplastic breast cancer surgery include:

  • A wider margin around the cancer can be removed for better cancer control
  • Breast tissue in both breasts can be reshaped providing symmetry between the breasts
  • The nipple may be repositioned if necessary

There are many ways for a surgeon to reconstruct the breast. Some women choose to have breast implants, which are filled with saline or silicone gel. You can read about breast implants on the Food and Drug Administration website.

You also may have breast reconstruction with tissue that the plastic surgeon removes from another part of your body. Skin, muscle, and fat can come from your lower abdomen, back, or buttocks. The surgeon uses this tissue to create a breast shape.

The type of reconstruction that is best for you depends on your age, body type, and the type of cancer surgery that you had. The plastic surgeon can explain the risks and benefits of each type of reconstruction. 

All Compass breast surgical oncologists are highly skilled in oncoplastic breast cancer surgery. To learn more about your options for oncoplastic breast cancer surgery, visit with our Compass Breast Specialists teams in Portland or Vancouver.

Download our free guide for breast cancer patients about managing treatment side effects.