Breast reconstruction after lumpectomy

A lumpectomy is a type of breast-conserving surgery in which, rather than removing the entire breast, the only the tumor, along with a margin of normal breast tissue around it, is removed.

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 fat grafting or lipofilling. A large dent might also be filled in with tissue from your belly or buttocks. 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.

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.

Most plastic surgeons recommend that you wait at least 6 months to one year after lumpectomy before having any plastic surgery reconstruction. This allows your tissues to heal and allows any distortion or asymmetry to stabilize.