Breast Reconstruction Surgery After Mastectomy: Key Considerations

John C. Lincoln Center for Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery
9250 N. Third St., Suite 1003
Phoenix, AZ 85020
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» Request a referral to a John C. Lincoln specialist in breast reconstruction surgery in Phoenix, Arizona.

At John C. Lincoln's Center for Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery in Phoenix, Arizona, patients benefit from a wide number of options for breast reconstruction after mastectomy.

Staffed by well-qualified physicians who have extensive training in the newest and most innovative breast surgery techniques, our center is proud to offer state-of-the-art breast reconstruction surgery techniques to breast cancer patients. These procedures include DIEP, SIEA, SGAP, ALT, TAP, TUG and latissimus flap reconstruction.

Extensive training in microsurgical breast reconstruction surgery is essential to performing these techniques. For this reason, they are performed by relatively few plastic surgeons in the United States.

Considering Breast Reconstruction Surgery

The decision to pursue breast reconstruction surgery depends upon the patient. No one technique is best for all women. A range of factors — including body type, overall health, cancer type, tumor size and chemotherapy or radiation therapy — should be considered.

Patient choice also may affect the timing of breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Some patients, because of medical or psychological reasons, find that delaying or declining breast reconstruction surgery altogether is the best option. For others, breast reconstruction surgery can start immediately at the time of the initial breast surgery.

If a patient chooses to have breast reconstruction after mastectomy, reconstruction of the nipple and areola can be performed within a few months following the final reconstructive procedure.

Choosing the Right Plastic Surgeon

When planning for breast reconstruction surgery, what should a patient look for in a plastic surgeon? Not only must the surgeon have undergone a plastic surgery training program that's accredited by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), the surgeon should be certified, or be pursuing certification, by the ABPS.

When considering breast reconstruction surgery — or any type of plastic surgery procedure — it is important to study a surgeon's results, and know what he or she is capable of doing. It also helps to talk with multiple surgeons from different facilities.

Questions you may ask a breast reconstruction surgeon include:

  • Have you completed a specialized breast fellowship?
  • If so where? Was the fellowship a microvascular breast fellowship (operating on small blood vessels with a microscope)?
  • What are my options for reconstruction, given what we now know about my disease and treatment plan?
  • What is your training in these breast reconstruction options?
  • How many surgical procedures have you performed in your career?
  • What is your success rate? What is your complication rate?

Also, chemistry between the patient and physician is important. At John C. Lincoln's Center for Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery in Phoenix, Arizona, our surgeons take great care to listen carefully and compassionately to each patient's needs in the process of developing an individualized treatment plan. Our patients are involved in the decision-making process.

Our surgeons seek to create a positive, collaborative partnership with patients to reach the best outcome possible. Patients should clearly understand what to expect in surgery, and during the recovery process, to know their role in achieving the best possible outcomes.

Costs of Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Women often worry about the costs of reconstruction. The Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) of 1998 is a federal law that requires most group insurance plans that cover mastectomies to also cover the costs of breast reconstruction. (The law does not apply to Medicaid or Medicare.)

The WHCRA is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, and more information is available at or by calling 1-866-487-2365.

Information and Support Are Available

Women with a new diagnosis of breast cancer can be overwhelmed by information, emotion and decisions. The specialized staff at John C. Lincoln's Breast Health and Research Center has extensive experience with helping patients plan for treatment, offering information and support for every stage of care, including reconstruction.