Breast prostheses and reconstruction
This section is for women who have had, or are considering having, a partial or complete removal of one or both breasts (mastectomy). The surgery may have been because of cancer or to prevent cancer.
Learn more about:
- Key questions about breast prostheses and reconstruction
- Making decisions about breast prostheses and reconstruction
- Breast prostheses
- Breast reconstruction
- Looking after yourself
- Questions for your doctor
For many women, breasts symbolise femininity, nursing a baby and sexual attractiveness. Losing part or all of a breast may affect your body image or confidence.
Before or after a mastectomy you may think about whether, and how, to restore your breast shape. You may consider a breast prosthesis or a breast reconstruction. A prosthesis is a synthetic breast worn inside a bra. It is also called a breast form. A reconstruction is a surgical procedure used to create a new breast shape using your own tissue and skin or using an implant as well as your own tissue and skin.
We hope this information helps you understand both options. We also talk about the possible benefits and drawbacks, which may be helpful in your decision-making process.
Some terms that may be unfamiliar are explained in the glossary.
A/Prof Elisabeth Elder, Specialist Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, Westmead Breast Cancer Institute and Clinical Associate Professor, The University of Sydney, NSW; Dragana Ceprnja, Senior Physiotherapist and Health Professional Educator, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Jan Davies, Consumer; Rosemerry Hodgkin, Consumer; Gillian Horton, Owner and Director, Colleen’s Lingerie and Swimwear, ACT; Ashleigh Mondolo, Clinical Nurse Consultant Breast Care Nurse, Mater Private Hospital South Brisbane, QLD; Dr Jane O’Brien, Specialist Oncoplastic Breast Cancer Surgeon, St Vincent’s Private Hospital, VIC; Moira Waters, Breast Care Nurse, Breast Cancer Care WA; Sharon Woolridge, Consumer; Rebecca Yeoh, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland.
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Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.