The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act, signed into law on October 21, 1998, requires group insurance plans that cover mastectomies to also cover breast reconstruction.


Choose the procedure right for your body. Learn about your mastectomy reconstruction options.

breast-reconstruction-with-implants

Implant Reconstruction (IR)

Reconstruction of the removed breast tissue with a saline or silicone gel breast implant.

tissue-flap-breast-reconstruction-graphic

Tissue Flap Reconstruction (TF)

Tissue Flap (Autologous) reconstruction of the removed breast tissue utilizing a piece of tissue taken from another part of the patient's body. Types of TF: TRAM, TUG, Latissimus Dorsi, GAP, DIEP, SIEA, Gluteal, et al.

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Going Flat (GF)

The decision not to reconstruct the breast(s) after mastectomy.


Types of Reconstruction

Implant Reconstruction
direct-to-implant-breast-reconstruction

Direct To Implant (DTI)

Immediate reconstruction of the breast with an saline or silicone implant following mastectomy (performed in a single surgery).

delayed-breast-reconstruction-with-expanders

Delayed Reconstruction

Delayed reconstruction of the breast utilizing a tissue expander placed under or over the chest muscle to stretch the tissue prior to placement of breast implants (performed in 2 or more surgeries).

Tissue-Expander-Fill

Expander Fills

A tissue expander is an empty, expandable implant with a port (a metal or plastic plug, valve, or coil) which allows a surgeon to add increasing amounts of liquid (a salt water solution) over time (generally 2 to 6 months) until the skin is stretched enough to accommodate the preferred size of breast implant.

Tissue Flap Reconstruction
Tram-Flap-breast-Reconstruction

TRAM Flap

A TRAM (transverse rectus abdominis muscle) flap procedure is when a flap of skin, fat, and all or part of the underlying rectus abdominus (“6-pack”) muscle are used to reconstruct the breast.

Non-muscle-sparing-mastectomy-free-flap-procedure

DIEP Flap

A DIEP flap (deep inferior epigastric perforators) procedure is when blood vessels, as well as the skin and fat connected to them, are removed from the lower abdomen and transferred to the chest to reconstruct a breast after mastectomy without removing any of the abdominal muscles.

muscle-sparing-free-flap-mastectomy-procedure

SIEA Flap

A SIEA/SIEP (superficial inferior epigastric artery/perforator) flap procedure is when the SIEA blood vessel that runs under your skin in your lower abdomen, as well as the skin and fat connected to the them, are removed from the lower abdomen and transferred to the chest to reconstruct a breast after mastectomy. While very similar to DIEP flap, SIEA uses a different section of blood vessels in the belly and does not require an incision be made in the layer that covers the rectus abdominis muscle.

Latissimis-Dorsi-Flap-Breast-Reconstruction

Latissimus Dorsi Flap

A Latissimus Dorsi flap procedure is when an oval flap of skin, fat, muscle, and blood vessels from the upper back is moved under the skin around to the chest to rebuild the breast.

Tug-Flap-Breast-Reconstruction

TUG Flap

A TUG (transverse upper gracilis) flap procedure is when a flap of skin, fat, muscle, and blood vessels from the upper thigh is used to reconstruct the breast.

gap-flap-breast-reconstruction

GAP Flap

A GAP (gluteal artery perforator) flap procedure is when a section of skin and fat from the upper buttocks/hip (or bottom of the buttocks), as well as a blood vessel that runs through the buttocks, are used to reconstruct the breast. If a patient doesn't have enough extra tissue in their buttock, a "stacked/hybrid" technique may be available, using skin from both buttocks and "stacking" them on top of the other to recreate a single breast.


Reconstruction Techniques

Implant Reconstruction
over-the-muscle-breast-reconstruction

Over The Muscle (OTM)

A form of implant reconstruction utilizing a breast implant placed over the chest muscle. UTM can provide more support and a natural looking result, but requires longer healing time than OTM.

under-the-muscle-breast-reconstruction

Under The Muscle (UTM)

A form of implant reconstruction utilizing a breast implant placed under the chest muscle. OTM has less healing time than UTM but requires more implant support with a tissue matrix.

fat-grafting-breast-reconstruction

Fat Grafting

Fat tissue is removed from other parts of the body by liposuction, processed into liquid and injected into the breast area to recreate the breast or to fix differences in the shape, balance, or position of the reconstructed breast. IR/AR/GF

Tissue Flap Reconstruction
Resensation-nerve-regeneration

Resensation

A surgical step that can be performed during autologous breast reconstruction, making it possible to reconnect the nerves to restore sensation after a mastectomy. AR

fat-grafting-breast-reconstruction

Fat Grafting

Fat tissue is removed from other parts of the body by liposuction, processed into liquid and injected into the breast area to recreate the breast or to fix differences in the shape, balance, or position of the reconstructed breast. IR/AR/GF


Surgical Materials

Implant Reconstruction
fda-approved-breast-implants

FDA Approved Breast Implant Manufacturers

Natrelle | Mentor | Sientra | Ideal IR

saline-breast-implant

Saline Breast Implants

Breast implants filled with saline solution.

silicone-breast-implant

Silicone Breast Implants

Breast implants filled with silicone gel.

gummy-bear-cohesive-gel-breast-implant

Gummy Breast Implants

Breast Implants which have a silicone shell and a silicone gel filling.

smooth-breast-implant

Smooth Breast Implants

Breast implants with a smooth outer surface.

textured-breast-implant

Textured Breast Implants

Breast implants with a textured outer surface.

Recently, textured implants have been recalled or restricted over safety concerns in several countries because of concerns about a rare cancer, breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). 
Round-breast-implant

Round Breast Implants

Breast implants with a round shape.

anatomical-teardrop-shaped-breast-implant

Anatomical Breast Implants

Breast implants with a "natural" teardrop shape.

alloderm-tissue-matrix

Alloderm

An acellular dermal matrix used to assist with tissue expander or implant-based breast reconstruction. IR


Revision Surgery

corrective-breast-surgery

Corrective Breast Reconstruction

Surgery to correct complications after mastectomy; also called "revision." Under the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act, mastectomy benefits must cover "Any physical complications at all stages of mastectomy." IR/AR/GF