If you've had lumpectomy (with or without radiation) to remove early-stage breast cancer, you may have a dent, bulge, or other distortion of the breast shape near the surgical site. Or your breast may have a different size or position compared to the other breast.
Because there are so many variables, there is no standard approach to reconstruction after lumpectomy, but there are many options. Because each woman's situation is unique, your reconstruction will be customized based on your previous treatments, your goals, and your cosmetic concerns.
For example, a small dent may be filled in with fat tissue from another area of your body (usually belly or buttocks). This is called lipofilling. A large dent might also be filled in with tissue from your belly, buttocks, or back. A treated breast that is much smaller than the other could be made bigger with an implant; the larger breast also could be reduced and lifted to achieve symmetry. If there are areas of firmness or scarring due to radiation, they often can be removed and then replaced with fat injections or tissue taken from another area.
A plastic surgeon who's experienced in breast reconstruction can work with you to develop a reconstruction plan that addresses all your concerns and goals. Learn about some of your possible options on the Minor Corrections After Reconstruction page.
In some cases, you might consider surgery to bring the breasts into balance. Most plastic surgeons recommend that you wait at least 6 months to 1 year after lumpectomy before having any surgical reconstruction. This allows your tissues to heal and allows any distortion or asymmetry to stabilize. For more information, visit our section on Altering the Opposite Breast.
Photographs included in this section are images of surgical procedures performed by the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery and have been generously donated to Breastcancer.org.