Top 6 Breast Reconstruction Myths

The choice to have breast reconstruction surgery can leave you with a lot of questions, so the Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction is here to give you the answers you need. Because there are many misconceptions about breast reconstruction, we’re here to debunk six common myths and help make your decisions a little easier.

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6 Breast Reconstruction Myths


1. Breast reconstruction is considered a cosmetic procedure.


Even though breast reconstruction surgery is performed by a plastic surgeon, it’s not considered a cosmetic procedure. This difference depends on the reason a surgery is performed.

Cosmetic surgery is an elective procedure that’s performed to reshape and refine an area of the body with the sole intention is to make that area more visually attractive. Because cosmetic surgery is not considered medically necessary, it’s not covered by insurance.

Reconstructive surgery is different because it’s deemed medically necessary, so it’s covered by insurance. This kind of procedure restores function and improves the appearance of areas affected by injury or medical conditions, including breast cancer.


2. I can’t have natural breast reconstruction because I don’t have enough abdominal tissue to spare.

  While the tissue used for natural breast reconstruction is most commonly taken from the abdomen during DIEP flap reconstruction surgery, this isn’t the only option. There are other alternative donor sites and new breast reconstruction techniques offered to women who lack the amount of abdominal tissue required for DIEP.   Many women can still have natural reconstruction using other areas like the buttocks (GAP) or upper thighs (PAP). Those who underwent a unilateral mastectomy may also be candidates for reconstruction using two flaps from their lower abdomen (“stacked” DIEP).  

3. I can’t undergo DIEP breast reconstruction because I’ve had previous abdominal surgery.


A history of abdominal surgery doesn’t necessarily mean you unable to have DIEP flap reconstruction. While this decision is determined on a case-by-case basis, many women are still candidates for this type of breast reconstruction surgery.

Common abdominal surgeries (e.g., appendectomies, hysterectomies, caesarian sections, laparoscopic procedures) often don’t affect the ability to perform DIEP reconstruction. The type of scarring, amount of available skin and fatty tissue, and intactness of essential blood vessels are all considered when determining whether DIEP is possible for you.


4. If I don’t have breast reconstruction right away, I can’t have it done at all.


While reconstruction can be done on the same day as your mastectomy (“immediate reconstruction”), it can also be performed weeks, months, or years after your breast cancer treatments (“delayed reconstruction”). Even women who have already undergone implant-based reconstruction or are unhappy with their previous breast reconstruction after mastectomy can revisit their options later.

This choice is really up to you and your plastic surgeon. There are factors to consider, including your personal readiness and your need for radiation, when making this decision.


5. I can’t have natural breast reconstruction because I need radiation treatment.


Generally, women are still able to get breast reconstruction even if they have had radiation. Because there are many types of reconstructive procedures nowadays, these surgeries can be safely and effectively performed with minimal risk.

Natural breast reconstruction surgeries are generally suggested for those who need radiation because they have a lower rate of complications when compared to implant-based procedures. The combination of implants and radiation is associated with a higher risk of issues, including capsular contracture and implant rupture.


6. After my initial surgery, my breast reconstruction is done and can’t be improved.


Natural breast reconstruction is not normally considered a one-stage process. Second-stage and third-stage procedures are performed to revise the shape, symmetry, and contour of the breasts to provide a more natural-looking result.

These stages also include donor site revisions to correct incision line issues like abnormal scarring and excess tissue. If unilateral reconstruction was done during the first stage, a breast reduction, mastopexy, or fat grafting is often performed on the remaining natural breast to correct asymmetry.


Get All Your Questions Answered


Having the right information is essential when making decisions during your breast reconstruction experience. If you have any questions, feel free to send us a message via chat on our website or email us at We are happy to help you with through this new chapter ahead!


Looking for more quick answers to commonly asked questions? Check out our Q&A on Ask the Doctor.

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