Breast reconstruction after mastectomy, done as an alternative to breast forms and specially designed bras to achieve a more normal appearance of the breast. If this procedure is chosen, it is usually considered to be just one stage in the total plan of treatment for breast cancer. It has both a psychologic and physiologic impact on the patient.
Criteria used to determine whether reconstructive surgery is appropriate postmastectomy include the amount of tissue remaining after mastectomy, e.g., pectoral muscles, skin, and nipple; the probability of recurrent metastatic disease; appearance and size of the unoperated breast; and size and angle of the mastectomy scar. Adjuvant cancer therapy with radiation does not necessarily preclude additional plastic breast surgery.