If you choose to have a breast reconstruction, your own breast cancer surgeon may have the expertise to do this if they have training in plastic surgery techniques (this is known as an oncoplastic surgeon). Or, you may be referred to a reconstructive surgeon (also known as a plastic surgeon).
The breast cancer surgeon and a reconstructive surgeon may work together to do the breast cancer surgery and reconstruction during the same operation.
Ask your surgeon what to expect, about their experience and expertise, and about the risks associated with the different types of reconstructions. You can also ask to see photographs of their work.
Learn more about:
Finding a surgeon
When considering having a reconstruction, ask to be referred to an expert in breast reconstruction. Check that they are a member of Breast Surgeons of Australia & New Zealand (BreastSurgANZ), and, if they are a reconstructive surgeon, a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Which health professionals will I see?
In hospital, you will be cared for by a range of health professionals who specialise in different aspects of a reconstruction procedure. Specialists and other health professionals will take a team-based approach to your care as part of a multidisciplinary team (MDT). The health professionals listed below may be in your MDT.
- Breast surgeon — specialises in surgery; some breast surgeons also perform breast reconstruction and specialised oncoplastic procedures
- Oncoplastic breast surgeon — specialises in using plastic surgery techniques to achieve a good cosmetic outcome after surgery
- Reconstructive (plastic) surgeon — performs breast reconstruction for women who have had a mastectomy
- Anaesthetist — administers anaesthetic before surgery and monitors you during the operation
- Breast care nurse — specialist nurse who is trained in breast cancer care, including pre- and post-reconstruction counselling
- Occupational therapist, physiotherapist — assist in restoring range of movement after surgery and help with practical issues
- Social worker — links you to support services and helps you with any emotional, physical, practical or financial problems
- Counsellor, psychologist, clinical psychiatrist — provide emotional support and help to manage feelings of anxiety and depression, and to help adjust to life after breast cancer