Reconstruction after Mastectomy: A Patient-centered Review

Thousands of women undergo mastectomies every year. The process for undergoing reconstruction can be daunting. There are multiple pathways available to patients, and completed reconstruction may require multiple surgeries. This presentation discusses common pathways to reconstruction, the risks and benefits associated with each, potential complications, and sample reconstruction timelines. The target audience is practitioners outside of breast surgery with a goal of improving understanding of a patient’s reconstruction options.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  • Discuss prevalence of breast cancer amongst the general population of the U.S., as well as in disproportionately affected communities
  • Define mastectomy, immediate reconstruction, delayed reconstruction, tissue expander, and autologous tissue reconstruction
  • Identify the most common risks and benefits related to breast implant placement vs. autologous tissue reconstruction
  • List additional procedures that may be required for patients undergoing unilateral mastectomy vs. bilateral mastectomy
  • Summarize the common pathways for breast reconstruction after unilateral and bilateral mastectomy