Many women who have had a mastectomy-a surgical operation to remove the entire breast to treat or prevent breast cancer-have the option of having the shape of the breast removed.
Women who choose to rebuild their breasts have several options in how they can be done. The breasts can be reconstructed using implants (saline or silicone). They can also be reconstructed using autogenous tissue (that is, tissue from other places in the body). Sometimes both implants and autogenous tissue are used to rebuild the breast.
Breast reconstruction surgery can be done (or started) at the time of mastectomy (what is called immediate reconstruction) or can be done after the mastectomy incisions have healed and breast cancer therapy is complete (what is called delayed reconstruction). Delayed reconstruction may occur months or even years after the mastectomy.