Most of more than 200,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer this year will have a lumpectomy to remove just the tumor from their breast. Still a significant number will need a mastectomy to remove the entire breast. If you are faced with that diagnosis, the good news is many women are choosing breast reconstruction at the same time because studies indicate it is safe to have both done at the same time.
"The complication rate of the reconstruction plus the mastectomy is no higher than the two procedures done separately and it has been shown with large studies that there is no increased risk with recurrence if one has had reconstruction," says Dr. Mark Sultan, with St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital.
There are a variety of techniques used to reconstruct the breast. Silicone implants are FDA cleared for breast reconstruction, but not for women who want bigger breasts. Saline implants are also available or doctors can make a breast from your own tissue, although that operation is more extensive than implant surgery.