Breast Reconstruction

This information is useful for children and adults
meeting with female patient to discuss breast reconstruction surgery
Why Yale Medicine?
  • We have an internationally recognized team of reconstructive and cosmetic surgeons.
  • We use the newest methods of breast reconstruction.
  • Our surgeons pioneer highly effective cosmetic surgery techniques.

For women who have had a mastectomy or lumpectomy, breast reconstruction surgery helps restore the appearance of the breasts. Research has shown that the procedure can improve quality of life and boost a woman’s self-esteem. 

“Breast reconstruction helps restore patients’ satisfaction with their bodies by making them more comfortable in their clothing and allowing them to regain confidence in relation to intimacy and sexuality,” says Michael Alperovich, MD, a Yale Medicine plastic and reconstructive surgeon who is also an assistant professor of plastic surgery at Yale School of Medicine.

At Yale Medicine, we have deep expertise in a wide variety of breast reconstruction procedures. We help women who’ve had surgery for breast cancer or need breast reconstruction for other reasons decide on the approach that will best address their needs.

In addition to restoring the breasts after a lumpectomy or mastectomy, breast reconstruction procedures are also used to address congenital deformities such as Poland syndrome or tuberous breast deformity, or to address inverted nipples and enlarged areolas (the pigmented area around the nipple).

There are several types of breast reconstruction approaches. Breast implants can be used or the surgeon may reconstruct the breast using blood vessels, fat and skin from the abdomen—a procedure called called autologous or DIEP flap reconstruction.

With implants, doctors sometimes use a woman’s own body fat to surgically reshape one or both breasts for a more natural look and feel in a procedure called fat grafting. If your natural breasts show signs of sagging, your doctor may also recommend a breast lift. Your doctor can also address concerns about the way your breasts look—for example, making adjustments to the areolas, if their shape or asymmetrical size bothers you.

The most common form of breast reconstruction is a two-stage implant reconstruction. In the first stage, a tissue expander is placed in your breast. This is a temporary device used to expand the skin and muscles to create space for an implant. The device is inflatable; the doctor gradually inflates it over many weeks to stretch the skin and muscles. In the second stage, the tissue expander is removed and the patient either receives permanent implants or undergoes the flap reconstruction procedure.

Clinical Trials

New treatments for many conditions are tested in clinical trials, which ultimately bring lifesaving new drugs and devices to the patients who need them most. By participating in a clinical trial, you may get access to the most advanced treatments for your condition, and help determine their benefits for future patients.