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Practical issues after a breast reconstruction

Finding a well-fitted bra

A well-fitted bra can make all the difference to the appearance of the breasts and cleavage after breast reconstruction.

Specially fitted bras support your reconstructed breast(s) and maximise how they look. They can also help improve comfort, posture and ease of fastening bras. Several state-based services have trained staff to help you with the fitting and purchase of bras and lingerie to meet your needs. A breast reconstruction surgeon or breast care nurse can provide more information.

Breast screening after breast reconstruction

There is no evidence that a breast reconstruction impairs the detection of breast cancer.

Screening of reconstructed breasts using ultrasound or mammograms is possible, including screening of breasts with implants. Women should see a doctor regularly to have clinical examinations to detect any signs of changes in the breasts.

Breast cancer recurrence after breast reconstruction

For women who have a mastectomy for breast cancer, there is no evidence that breast reconstruction increases the risk of breast cancer coming back. There is also no evidence that breast reconstruction makes it more difficult to detect breast cancer if it does come back.

Regular clinical examination by a healthcare professional is recommended to look for changes in the breasts. Mammography of the reconstructed breast (including breast reconstructions using implants) is possible. Other imaging methods, for example ultrasound, may also be used. A woman’s breast care team will advise her about the type and frequency of screening recommended.

Although some women report that breast reconstruction reduces their fear of breast cancer coming back, some women still experience fear and anxiety, particularly around the time of annual check-ups. It is important to remember that many people experience aches and pains, and these symptoms are not usually a sign that breast cancer has come back. A woman who experiences symptoms that do not go away, or who experiences feelings of fear or anxiety that are interfering with day-to-day life, should talk to a member of her breast care team.