Browser does not support script.
Skip to main content
Find out how we produce our information|
Here are some of the common questions about breast reconstruction.
The way you feel about your breast reconstruction will depend partly on what you expect from the surgery. Make sure you discuss your expectations with your surgeon| before you decide to go ahead. It’s important to wait for several months after reconstruction for the skin and muscle to stretch, and for the reconstructed breast to settle into its final shape, before deciding how happy you are with the result. Full healing can take about a year. It often takes more than one operation to get a good match with your natural breast. If you have concerns, discuss them with your surgeon or breast care nurse. Your surgeon may already have plans for an operation to improve the final result. If you’re still unhappy following discussions with your surgeon you can, if you wish, ask to be referred to another surgeon for a second opinion.
Mammograms| are not usually necessary on the reconstructed breast after a mastectomy|, but you will be invited to have regular mammograms on the other breast. If you have had partial breast reconstruction| or a mini-flap|, you will continue to have mammograms on that breast.
If you are worried that your cancer has come back in the reconstructed breast, an examination by your surgeon, combined with an ultrasound, MRI scan or biopsy, can investigate and diagnose anything unusual.
Silicone or saline implants hide part of the breast during mammography, but experts believe that any cancer around an implant is still simple to detect using an ultrasound. Your doctor can advise on how any possible recurrence of cancer can be found.
Specialists think there is little or no difficulty detecting a recurrence of cancer either beneath or around an implant, using examination by hand, ultrasound or a mammogram. If your cancer comes back|, it’s most likely to be just under the skin and so is generally easy to detect.
Yes. If you have had, or are going to have, a mastectomy as part of your cancer treatment, you’re entitled to free breast reconstruction on the NHS. You should have a full choice of breast reconstruction options. Alternatively, some surgeons will carry out reconstruction surgery privately, if you prefer.
Content last reviewed: 1 June 2011
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
If you have any questions about Macmillan we would love to hear from you| .
You can also follow us| on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or YouTube.
© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
what are these?|