- Cancer Information
- Managing side effects
- Breast prostheses and reconstruction
- Breast reconstruction
- Surgery to the other breast
Surgery to the other breast
For many women, the small differences between their remaining and reconstructed breasts are not noticeable when they wear a bra. For others, the difference in breast size may be more obvious.
Some women decide to have the remaining breast made smaller or larger by surgery to match the reconstructed breast and improve balance and posture.
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Some women may be advised or choose to have a bilateral mastectomy. This means both breasts are surgically removed.
A bilateral mastectomy may be recommended for several reasons:
- the type of breast cancer you have
- your risks and/or anxiety about developing another breast cancer
- family history or a gene fault that increases your breast cancer risk
- the amount of surgery required to achieve a symmetrical result with the breast reconstruction
- choosing an abdominal flap reconstruction; because surgery on the abdomen can only be done once, the flap procedure can’t be repeated at a later date if cancer develops in the other breast.
Reconstruction will need to be considered for both breasts. Discuss this issue with your doctor and seek a second opinion if you wish.
This procedure combines surgery to remove part of the breast (breast-conserving surgery or wide local excision) with a breast reduction. It is often used as an alternative to mastectomy in suitable cases. Sometimes a breast reduction is done on the other breast at the same time, or at a later date.
For more on this, see our general section on Surgery.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
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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