- Cancer Information
- Managing side effects
- Breast prostheses and reconstruction
- Breast reconstruction
This section provides information about breast reconstruction for women who have had breast surgery.
Learn more about:
- When can I have a reconstruction?
- Who will do the reconstruction
- Types of breast reconstruction
- Implant reconstruction
- Flap reconstruction
- Re-creating the nipple
- Surgery to the other breast
- What to expect after surgery
- Taking care of yourself after a reconstruction
- Costs and financial assistance
Breast reconstruction can be done when you have a mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) or months or years later (delayed reconstruction).
The timing depends on the type of breast cancer you were diagnosed with, whether you need further treatment (for example, chemotherapy or radiation therapy), your general health and other concerns such as cost.
Some women plan the reconstruction from the time of their mastectomy, others prefer to focus on treatment and think about reconstruction later.
Sometimes you won’t be able to have an immediate reconstruction because of your own medical and cancer treatment situation or the surgery schedule at the hospital. You may also need to have the surgery in a number of stages to achieve the desired result. Talk to your surgeon about these issues.
If you are considering having a breast reconstruction, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 and ask to speak to trained Cancer Connect volunteers who have had reconstruction surgery and can offer you support. To read personal stories about breast reconstruction, visit Breast Cancer Network Australia.
After a breast reconstruction you will need to do some exercises to get your arm and shoulder moving properly again. Learn more about exercises you can do before and after surgery to help with your recovery. You can also ask your doctor or breast care nurse about suitable exercises or visit a physiotherapist or an exercise physiologist.
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.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.