After a breast reconstruction surgery and/or radiation therapy, some women have a difference in the shape, size, or position of one breast compared to the other. Breast asymmetry (or imbalance) is more likely to occur if only one of your breasts was reconstructed, or if you had both breasts reconstructed but just had radiation therapy on one side. Over time, gravity and natural changes to the breast tissue can also make your breasts more uneven.
Treatments for breast asymmetry
Plastic surgeons usually recommend waiting a few months after a breast reconstruction surgery to allow your tissues to heal and allow any asymmetry to stabilize before you consider having a procedure to help restore balance to your breasts.
Because there are so many variables, there is no standard approach to surgically correcting asymmetry. Your plastic surgeon can work with you to come up with a solution that is customized to your unique situation. For example:
- If only one of your breasts was reconstructed and it is higher and firmer than the other, natural breast, your plastic surgeon could adjust the natural breast with a breast lift or a breast reduction, or by adding an implant.
- If one of your breasts is slightly smaller than the other, your plastic surgeon might inject fat into areas of the smaller breast that need more volume. This procedure is called fat grafting (or “fat injection”). Fat tissue is removed from another part of your body — usually your thighs, belly, or buttocks — by liposuction. Then the tissue is processed into liquid before being injected into the breast area.
- In some cases, your plastic surgeon might make surgical adjustments to both breasts — for instance, doing a breast reduction to both, but reducing one more than the other.
Learn more about ways to address asymmetry at Altering the Opposite Breast.
Learn about options after lumpectomy at Reconstruction After Lumpectomy.