Breast reconstruction with flap surgery

Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure that restores shape to your breast after mastectomy — surgery that removes your breast tissue to treat or prevent breast cancer. Breast reconstruction with flap surgery is a type of breast reconstruction that involves taking a section of tissue from one area of your body and relocating it to create a new breast mound.

Breast reconstruction with flap surgery is a complex procedure performed by a plastic surgeon. Much of the breast reconstruction using your body's own tissue can be accomplished at the time of your mastectomy.  However, you'll need a second operation to achieve a correctly positioned, natural-appearing breast or to perform nipple reconstruction.

Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

Breast reconstruction with flap surgery is a major procedure and carries with it the possibility of significant complications, including:

  • Changes in breast sensation
  • Prolonged time in surgery and under anesthesia
  • Extended recovery and healing time
  • Poor wound healing
  • Fluid collection (seroma)
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Tissue death (necrosis) due to insufficient blood supply
  • Loss of sensation at the tissue donor site
  • Abdominal wall hernia or weakness

Radiation therapy delivered to the skin and chest wall may pose complications during healing if it's given after breast reconstruction surgery. Your doctor may recommend waiting until you're finished with radiation therapy before proceeding with breast reconstruction.

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