Learning Objectives: After reading this article, the participant should be able to: 1. Describe the mental, emotional, and physical benefits of reconstruction in breast cancer patients. 2. Compare the most common techniques of reconstruction in patients and detail benefits and risks associated with each. 3. Outline different methods of reconstruction and identify the method considered best for the patient based on timing of the procedures, body type, adjuvant therapies, and other coexisting conditions. 4. Distinguish between some of the different flaps that can be considered for autologous reconstruction.
Summary: Breast cancer is unfortunately a common disease affecting millions of women, often at a relatively young age. Reconstruction following mastectomy offers women an opportunity to mollify some of the emotional and aesthetic effects of this devastating disease. Although varying techniques of alloplastic and autologous techniques are available, all strive to achieve the same goal: the satisfactory reformation of a breast mound that appears as natural as possible without clothing and at the very least is normal in appearance under clothing. This article summarizes the various approaches to breast reconstruction and offers a balanced view of the risks and benefits of each, all of which in the end offer the opportunity for excellent and predictable results with a high degree of patient satisfaction.