Breast Reconstruction surgery is most commonly performed for women that have had a mastectomy for treatment of breast cancer. Patients that have had a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy may also have the need for breast reconstruction procedures. Breast reconstruction may also benefit other women that have operations or injuries, such as burns, involving their breasts. Birth defects resulting in abnormalities of development may also be reconstructed. Poland's Syndrome is a developmental birth deformity which results in one breast failing to develop into a normal size compared to the opposite breast.
The function of the breast, aside from the brief periods when it serves for lactation, is an organ of female sexual identity. The female breast is a major component of a woman's self image and is important to her psychological sense of femininity and sexuality. The ultimate goal of breast reconstruction is to achieve bilateral symmetry. Because near-equal symmetry is a prerequisite for
normalcy, reconstruction on the contralateral or unaffected breast is often required to achieve the best possible match of size and configuration.
A number of surgical techniques are used to recreate the breast mound and nipple-areolar complex. The goal is to create a breast that matches the shape, size, and feel of the normal breast as much as possible. The skills that are used to reconstruct a breast after a mastectomy are also used for other types of breast reconstruction.
Most patients report that breast reconstruction has enhanced their lives and contributed to an improved quality of life.