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If you are considering risk-reducing mastectomy| with reconstruction, you may be referred to a breast surgeon with expertise in both types of surgery.
Because breast reconstruction| involves specialised surgery, not all hospitals have a surgeon who also carries out breast reconstruction. This may mean you will need to be referred to a surgeon at another hospital.
Surgeons who do reconstructive breast surgery may be breast cancer surgeons or plastic surgeons. Some surgeons have training in both of these specialities and are known as oncoplastic surgeons.
Most larger hospitals in the UK have an oncoplastic surgeon.
In some hospitals a breast surgeon may do your mastectomy and another surgeon who is skilled in reconstructive surgery will do the reconstruction.
Some reconstruction operations need surgeons who are skilled in microsurgery, which is a specialised technique. These more complex operations will need to be done by a reconstructive plastic surgeon. You may need to travel to your regional plastic surgery unit – which may be some distance from your home – to have this type of operation. However, it should still be possible to have reconstruction at the same time as risk-reducing mastectomy.
When you see the reconstructive surgeon you can ask them about their experience in breast reconstruction. You can also ask to see photographs of operations they have done. This can help give you an idea of what may be possible with reconstructive surgery.
Don’t worry about asking lots of questions| and requesting to see photos of your surgeons’ previous work. They are used to these sorts of requests, and it could help you make the decision that feels right for you.
And remember, it’s important that both your breast surgeon and your reconstructive surgeon are sensitive to your thoughts and feelings about reconstruction.
Content last reviewed: 1 September 2012
Next planned review: 2014
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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