Breast cancer is a devastating diagnosis for any woman. When the best treatment requires a mastectomy, breast reconstruction is frequently performed. This can be done either at the time of the mastectomy or at some “elective time” after the wound is healed. There are many types of reconstructions that can be performed but they generally fall into 2 main categories – those done with implants and those done with one’s own natural tissue – frequently tissue from the lower abdomen brought up to reconstruct the breast.
Frequently, surgery is also done on the “opposite breast” to help with the symmetry. The opposite breast can be made either smaller or larger or simply just lifted. Breast reconstruction is a multi-stage procedure which can take several months to ultimately complete. In almost all cases, health insurance will cover not only the reconstruction of the breast that is removed but surgery to the “opposite breast”.