Breast Reconstruction After Lumpectomy and Radiation?

Is it possible to have Breast reconstruction after a lumpectomy and radiation?

Doctor Answers 21

Breast reconstruction after lumpectomy and radiation.

Just to add to what has already been said.  My algorithm for tackling a lumpectomy defect is to ask if you are happy with the volume of breast that you are left with or not.

If you are happy with the volume of breast that you have left, you may need to have the breast reshaped which can often be done in the form of an uplift.  You may need a balancing uplift/reduction on the other side.

If you are not happy with the volume, then you need to have volume added.  This can either be in the form of fat transfer or a latissimus dorsi flap.


Typically breast reconstruction can be done on a patient who has undergone a lumpectomy and then radiation.  However, the type of reconstruction that can be done may be limited depending on the condition of your skin after radiation.  Irradiated skin has more difficulty holding an implant than non-irradiated skin which can increase the risk of capsular contracture after implant reconstruction.  Autologous reconstruction is the alternative to implant reconstruction but not everyone is a candidate for autologous reconstruction for various reasons such as poor health or the patient’s body habitus.  I recommend researching for board certified plastic surgeons that have experience working with breast cancer survivors.  Then schedule a consultation for a thorough examination.  After reviewing your medical history and performing a physical exam, your surgeon will be able to tell you the best reconstruction option for you.

Congratulations on being a survivor!Be well and good luck!


Absolutely Possible. See the Plastic Surgeon before the tumor surgery.

There are many things that can be done to reconstruct a breast after lumpectomy and radiation. Options include use of a small implant, use of a small local flap, a mastopexy (uplift) type operation to reshape the breast and standard, more invasive types of procedures. No matter what is done, the best plan is to see a Plastic Surgeon before the initial procedure. He/she can work with the general surgeon and plan the procedure so that a minimal defect will be left. In people with a reasonable sized breast, this may involve using a reduction incision and removing the tumor as one would remove the tissue in a breast reduction, thus resulting in a normal appearing breast that was easier to obtain than after an initial procedure with an incision in an inconvenient location.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Very limited options following lumpectomy and radiation

Unfortunately, surgical options are very limited following lumpectomy and radiation.  This treatment course often leaves the breast with a focal deficit and with some distortion of shape and nipple position.  Surgery on a radiated breast is risky due to the effects of radiation and options for filling in the focal deficit are quite limited.  It is possible that these options may be improved if fat grafting (moving fat from an area of excess to the area of deficiency) is found to be safe, but this option remains questionable at this time.

Breast Reconstruction After Lumpectomy/Radiation

Breast reconstruction after a partial mastectomy is a real option.  It usually involves a reshaping and a scar release of the breast in order to fit the shape and size of the opposite breast.  Depending on the size of the deformity left by the lumpectomy I rely mostly on a re-contouring of the breast with local flaps and the use of micro-fat injections to refine the shape.  If the deformity is more severe then larger skin flaps would be a choice.  
Either way seek the advice of a board certified Plastic Surgeon because he can better offer all of the different options that your particular case may require.  

Joseph Rucker, MD, FACS
Eau Claire Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Reconstruction after A Radiation and Lumpectomy

Yes! There are many options after lumpectomy. Depending on the what the radiation has done to the local tissues may dictate your options. Autologous tissue flaps, Implants and finally fat transfer are all options that maybe used. The best is to see a board certified plastic surgeon who does many of these types of cases.

Hope this helps !

Ritu Chopra, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews


Lumpectomy reconstruction can involve many options. I have had success with implant reconstruction, flaps from other body areas, and opposite breast procedures for symmetry. A consultation can help you decide which option is best for you.

William C. Rigano, MD
Dayton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Breast reconstruction after lumpectomy and raiation?

Hello!  Thank you for your question.  Yes - you are certainly a candidate to have reconstruction of your deformity from your cancer surgery.  Fat grafting has become a popular procedure to improve aesthetic outcome following breast reconstruction or for improvement of contour after lumpectomy. Much of the newest research has investigated the properties of fat, in terms of its stem cell properties and associated advantages. It has significantly ameliorated radiation damage by increasing vascularity. Also, it adds additional "fatty tissue" atop the reconstructed breast mound to further contour any concavities or deformities, while also masking implant visibility with rippling and such.

At our Breast Reconstruction Center, we have utilizing this technique almost routinely to maximize the aesthetic outcomes after lumpectomy or mastectomy. We have utilized the micro-fat grafting technique, and have been obtaining maximal fat graft survival into the breast. After harvesting of the fat from areas with excess fat, usually the belly, hips, or thighs, the fat is processed and injected back into the breast using the aforementioned techniques. Our patients have been very happy with the results as well as the areas where the liposuction was performed. Contour has been much improved using the micro-fat grafting technique, and the downtime is minimal.

Fat grafting has become a mainstay in breast reconstruction and has added another edge to breast reconstruction for aesthetics with minimal morbidity and complications.

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Reconstruction after lumpectomy

The deformity of a breast after lumpectomy and radiation ranges from very mild to severe. This can cause asymmetries that are difficult to reconstruct. It is possible to repair the deformities left by radiation with multiple techniques--implants, breast lift or reduction, and addition of tissues from another part of the body often the back (latissimus). Even more often, a procedure is required for the normal side in order to lift or reduce that breast to make the two symmetric in volume. These procedures are most often covered by insurance. It is more common, however, to have complications on the radiated side after surgery and this should be discussed with your plastic surgeon. Be sure to speak with a board-certified plastic surgeon and ask questions about the both the cancer and the noncancer breast.

Yes you can have a breast reconstruction after lumpectomy!

Please have a consult.  There are multiple options for patients who are have an issue after there lumpectomy and radiation therapy.The most like case scenario is performing fat grafting to this area. This involves using liposuction to obtain fat from one area of the body like the love hand and move it to another area.Please find an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and member of the Aesthetic Society using the Smart Beauty Guide. These Plastic Surgeons can guide you on all aspects of facial surgery, breast augmentation and body procedures including tummy tucks or mommy makeovers!

Fat grafting is a valuable tool in breast surgery. This technique has gained more popularity over the past 7 years. There are many techniques used to harvest the fat, process the fat and then re-inject the fat. Conventional suction lipectomy is performed with a small diameter cannula, processed by separating the liquid and fibrous tissue from the fat, and then placed into syringes for re-injection or through a closed system.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.