By Jill Murphy, MD, plastic surgeon at UPMC Altoona Plastic Surgery
Women facing a breast cancer diagnosis or those who have already been treated for the disease have options when it comes to breast reconstruction.
A number of surgical breast procedures are available, but finding the right one can be a daunting task. Below is a brief overview of some of the most common types of breast reconstruction surgery.
To learn more about this topic, or to schedule an appointment, contact UPMC Altoona Plastic Surgery or call (814) 947-5030.
Never Miss a Beat!
Subscribe to Our HealthBeat Newsletter!
Thank you for subscribing!
You are already subscribed.
Sorry, an error occurred. Please try again later.
Get Healthy Tips Sent to Your Phone!
Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgeryhttps://pages.upmc.com/Altoona-Plastic-Surgery-b
Oncoplastic breast reconstruction
- Oncoplastic breast reconstruction involves rearranging breast tissue after the breast cancer has been removed.
- Women who are good candidates for oncoplastic breast reconstruction have large breasts and small tumors.
- Rather than choosing a mastectomy to remove all breast tissue, they choose a lumpectomy, which involves removing the tumor and some surrounding normal breast tissue. Women who choose lumpectomy will also need radiation therapy.
- Rearrangement of the tissue frequently involves doing a breast reduction or breast lift after the tumor has been removed. The healthy breast is often reduced or lifted as well so that the two sides match.
Breast reconstruction with implants
- Breast reconstruction with implants is done after a mastectomy. Most often it involves two surgeries.
- One procedure is done at the same time as the mastectomy. A tissue expander, which can be thought of as a medical balloon, is placed beneath the mastectomy skin.
- Over the course of three months or less, the expander is inflated by inserting a small needle into the port on the expander.
- Once a woman breast size is what she wants to be, surgery is scheduled to remove the tissue expander and replace it with a long-term breast implant (most often silicone). The new breast size chosen may be bigger or smaller than the woman’s original breast size.
- In some circumstances, the long-term implant rather than a tissue expander may be placed at the time of the mastectomy. This makes a second surgery to remove the tissue expander unnecessary.
- For women who have small- to medium-sized breasts who don’t want to be larger, this may be an option.
Autologous breast reconstruction
- Autologous breast reconstruction involves harvesting fat and skin from another part of the body — most commonly the abdomen — and using it to reconstruct the breast(s) after mastectomy..
- The skin, which is normally discarded during a tummy tuck, can be used to reconstruct the breast(s). Other possible donor sites include the middle thighs, the buttocks, the back, and various other areas. This type of surgery usually involves a longer hospital stay than implant or oncoplastic reconstruction.
- It is a good option for women who will need radiation therapy or don’t want an implant in their body.
Finding the Option That’s Best for You
Breast reconstruction can be done at the same time as a mastectomy/lumpectomy or it can be done months or even years later.
When breast reconstruction occurs at a different time than the mastectomy/lumpectomy, it is called delayed reconstruction. Insurance pays for both types of breast reconstruction, plenty of evidence shows that women who undergo breast reconstruction have a better quality of life after breast cancer treatment than women who do not.
If you or a loved one are faced with breast cancer and are deciding on treatment options, or have already been treated for breast cancer, remember that breast reconstruction is an important part of breast cancer treatment.
To learn more about this topic, or to schedule an appointment, contact us at UPMC Altoona Plastic Surgery or call (814) 947-5030.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .
About UPMC Magee-Womens
Built upon our flagship, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, and its century-plus history of providing high-quality medical care for people at all stages of life, UPMC Magee-Womens is nationally renowned for its outstanding care for women and their families.
Our Magee-Womens network – from women’s imaging centers and specialty care to outpatient and hospital-based services – provides care throughout Pennsylvania, so the help you need is always close to home. More than 25,000 babies are born at our network hospitals each year, with 10,000 of those babies born at UPMC Magee in Pittsburgh, home to one of the largest NICUs in the country. The Department of Health and Human Services recognizes Magee in Pittsburgh as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health; U.S. News & World Report ranks Magee nationally in gynecology. The Magee-Womens Research Institute was the first and is the largest research institute in the U.S. devoted exclusively to women’s health and reproductive biology, with locations in Pittsburgh and Erie.
When you are facing cancer, you need the best care possible. UPMC Hillman Cancer Center provides world-class cancer care, from diagnosis to treatment, to help you in your cancer battle. We are the only comprehensive cancer center in our region, as designated by the National Cancer Institute. We have more than 70 locations throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, with more than 200 oncologists – making it easier for you to find world-class care close to home. Our internationally renowned research team is striving to find new advances in prevention, detection, and treatment. Most of all, we are here for you. Our patient-first approach aims to provide you and your loved ones the care and support you need. To find a provider near you, visit our website.