Breast Reconstruction Procedures

DIEP Reconstruction


The goal of breast reconstruction is to restore the breast(s) to near normal shape, appearance, symmetry and size following mastectomy, lumpectomy, or other trauma. It may be a good option for you if you have realistic goals for restoring your breast/body image. Breast reconstruction typically involves several procedures performed in stages, and can either begin at the time of mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) or be delayed until a later date (delayed reconstruction).

While surgeons continue to develop many new and advanced reconstruction techniques – making these procedures more popular than ever – nearly 70% of women eligible for breast reconstruction are not told about all of their options. In making one of the most personal choices, breast cancer patients considering breast reconstruction should know that they have a voice and a choice.



  1. Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
  2. What surgical technique is recommended for me?
  3. Will I be able to keep my own nipple(s)?
  4. What are the risks and complications?
  5. Where and how will you perform my procedure?
  6. How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
  7. What will be expected of me to get the best results?
  8. How are complications handled?
  9. What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the outcome?
  10. Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery? Were you trained specifically in the field of plastic surgery?
  11. Do you have before and after photos I can look at? What results are reasonable for me?


This decision should be made with your plastic surgeon prior to your mastectomy and is usually based on your risks factors and information from your biopsy.

Immediate Reconstruction:

This type of reconstruction begins at the time of the mastectomy (or lumpectomy) and has become the standard of care for most patients. Advantages: Immediate post-mastectomy reconstruction offers the psychological and aesthetic advantage of waking from the procedure with a lesser deformity and reconstruction already well underway.

Disadvantages: Many women find the primary drawback of immediate reconstruction to be the longer surgery and recovery times. Additionally, subsequent radiation treatment can compromise the reconstructed tissue.

Delayed Reconstruction:

In some patients, there may be signs of advanced disease, or radiation may be required as part of the treatment plan before any surgery is performed. If this is the case, a patient may want to delay reconstruction until after all treatments have been completed.

Advantages: Many women feel that delaying reconstruction give them time to focus on treatments and research the type of reconstruction that best suits their needs.

Disadvantages: Some patients find that being without a breast for an extended or unknown period of time can be emotionally difficult.


[Image source: www.hopkinsmedicine.org/breast_center/treatments_services/reconstructive_breast_surgery/deep_inferior_epigastric_artery_perforator_diep_flap.html]