October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and in a combined effort between the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and The Plastic Surgery Foundation, October 15th is National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day (BRA Day). Many women who have undergone a mastectomy are not fully aware of the options available to them when it comes to breast reconstruction. After surviving a disease as terrifying as breast cancer, many women wish to feel whole again and restore their appearance with natural-looking feminine breasts. To follow are some facts about breast reconstruction every breast cancer survivor should know.


  • As few as 22% of women who have undergone mastectomy are aware of the quality results breast reconstruction can achieve.
  • Alarmingly, only 19% of post-mastectomy breast cancer survivors fully understand that the time between mastectomy and breast reconstruction greatly impacts the success of the reconstruction.
  • Nearly 90% of all women who are having mastectomy want to see what breast reconstruction results look like before the procedure.
  • Less than 23% of women post-mastectomy are aware of the wide range of options available in breast reconstruction.

Options In Breast Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction methods are broken into two main categories: immediate or delayed.

Immediate Breast Reconstruction

  • The breast mound is created at the same time as the mastectomy
  • This helps spare a patient the emotional distress associated with the loss of a single or both breasts
  • Risks associated with anesthesia are lowered
  • This procedure is performed by an oncologist and plastic surgeon, simultaneously

Delayed Breast Reconstruction

There are two main methods for delayed breast reconstruction: Implant/Expander or Autologous Tissue.

  • Surgery can be performed months or years following mastectomy and the completion of cancer treatments.
  • Patients are often required to wait a minimum of 6 months following radiation, to allow skin to heal before undergoing reconstruction.

Implant/Expander Delayed Breast Reconstruction

  • Two separate procedures.
  • It is very difficult for surgeons to create two identical breasts, so some variances will remain noticeable.
  • Breasts feel firm, and appear cosmetically reconstructed.

Autologous Tissue Delayed Breast Reconstruction

  • Time spent under anesthesia is reduced.
  • Recovery is an estimated 6-8 weeks long.
  • Breasts feel soft and natural.
  • Some complications and risks associated with TRAM and DIEP flap harvesting and healing.

Are You A Breast Cancer Survivor Ready To Restore Your Breast? Let Dr. Stephens Help You.

Dr. J. Anthony Stephens is a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in breast reconstruction. To schedule a consultation contact our office in Baton Rouge at 225-754-4983 or contact us online to request more information.

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