After a mastectomy, lumpectomy or other trauma, breast reconstruction can help restore breast shape, appearance, symmetry, and size to either one or both breasts.
Breast reconstruction often involves several plastic surgery techniques and procedures performed in stages. Reconstruction can either begin at the time of mastectomy or can be delayed until a later date.
There are a number of factors that should be considered when contemplating the type and timing of breast reconstruction, including:
- Type of mastectomy
- Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation
- Patient’s body type
It is important to note that in 1998, a federal law was implemented that provides protections to patients who choose to have breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. This law requires most insurance plans that cover mastectomies to also cover all of the following:
- Reconstruction of the breast removed by mastectomy,
- Mastectomy and reconstruction of the other breast,
- Any external breast prostheses that are needed before or during the reconstruction, and
- Surgical procedures on the noncancerous breast to improve symmetry such as augmentation, breast lift, or reduction