Reconstructive Breast Surgery Overview

Reconstructive breast surgery is offered to women following a mastectomy (breast removal) to help restore confidence and physical appearance.

What is Reconstructive Breast Surgery?

A variety of plastic surgery techniques can be used to attempt to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance, and size following mastectomy. Reconstructive breast surgery can be performed on the same day as a mastectomy (immediate reconstruction), or at any time in the future (delayed reconstruction). Timing depends on factors such as tumor size and the need for chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Reconstructive Breast Surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital

The Breast Surgery Service at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), in partnership with the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center, is committed to providing excellent care to patients with breast cancer. Doctors and other caregivers will work closely with you and your family to develop a treatment plan suited to your situation.

The Division of Plastic Surgery's Breast Center performs over 1,800 procedures each year - supporting any/all surgical breast care needs of our patients. Ten faculty members within the Division specialize in breast cosmetic and reconstructive care, specifically focusing on both the physical and emotional needs of our patients.

Reconstructive procedures offered at BWH include:

  • DIEP Flap – transfer of complete tissue - blood vessels (perforators), skin and fat - from a woman’s lower abdomen to her chest, where the surgeon, aided by a microscope, will attach the donor tissue blood vessels to the chest blood vessels and reconstruct the breast.
  • LAT Flap – uses muscle and skin from the upper back to reconstruct the breast.
  • SGAP Flap – uses fat and skin from the buttocks to reconstruct the breast.
  • TRAM Flap – uses muscles, fat, and skin from the abdomen to reconstruct the breast.
  • Saline or silicone implants.

Surgical Cancer Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The Division of Surgical Oncology provides comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and management for adult cancer patients in both ambulatory and inpatient settings. Surgical specialties include the treatment of benign and malignant disorders of the breast and management of gastrointestinal (colorectal, biliary, hepatic, and pancreatic) malignancies. The Division is also well known for its innovative therapy for soft tissue sarcomas and melanomas and other skin lesions.

Patient- and Family-focused Care

BWH has long been committed to not only the care of our patients but also the many other needs that they and their families have. This philosophy of patient- and family-focused care - involving systems and services that emphasize healing in a comfortable, relaxed environment – is a guiding force behind the care we provide at the Breast Surgery Service.

Quality of Patient Care

BWH is committed to providing all of our patients with the safest, highest-quality, most-satisfying care possible and following established protocols that have been shown to improve patient outcomes. Our Inpatient Satisfaction Survey, sent to patients’ to assess their total care experience, helps us to monitor what we are doing well and what areas may need improvement. We pride ourselves in the Quality of Patient Care we provide and how we are measured compared with other hospitals.

Brigham and Women's Hospital Breast Care Team

Our team of breast care specialists includes world-renowned breast surgeons, nurse practitioners, patient navigators, medical and radiation oncologists, cancer risk experts, breast pathologists, plastic surgeons, social workers and rehabilitation specialists who use a patient-focused approach to deliver the most effective treatment for each patient. Meet our Breast Surgery Service team.

Contact Us

If you believe you should have an evaluation and would like to schedule an appointment with one of our breast reconstruction experts, call 1-800-294-9999 to speak to one of our knowledgeable coordinators who can help to connect you to the doctor that best meets your needs, or fill out an online appointment request form.

New Approaches to Breast Reconstruction Surgery Video

Matthew Carty, MD, Director, Lower Extremity Transplant Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital, describes innovative breast reconstruction techniques known as flaps. A flap procedure takes tissue from one part of the body and moves it to the chest in order to reconstruct a patient’s breast. Flap procedures offer breast reconstruction options to patients who are not candidates for implant-based breast reconstruction. Read transcript.

Learn more about Brigham and Women's Hospital

For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.

About BWH