Breast cancer is much less common in men than it is in women. Unfortunately, since many men are not aware that they can develop cancer in their breast, they often go undiagnosed until late stage disease. Mastectomy is typically recommended as the surgical treatment of choice for men with breast cancer, and there are several options that are available for most men facing mastectomy.
Men also have several options for breast reconstruction. The timing for breast reconstruction for men is usually different than it is for women. For most men, reconstruction is performed after breast cancer treatments have been completed. At NYBRA Plastic Surgery, our surgeons are experienced in male breast reconstruction and can help you decide what approach is right for you.
Types of procedures
- Mastectomy Scar Revision: Simple scar revision techniques can improve deformity from mastectomy. This can also be combined with fat grafting when appropriate.
- Fat Grafting: Depending on the skin quality after mastectomy, small volume breast reconstruction in men may be possible with fat grafting. This technique commonly requires more than one stage to achieve the desired outcome.
- Natural-tissue Flap Reconstruction: Breast reconstruction with various natural-tissue flaps is possible after male mastectomy. The latissimus flap is among the most common flaps used for breast reconstruction in men.
- Implant Reconstruction: Breast reconstruction in men is possible with custom made, solid silicone implants that are usually placed under the pectoralis muscle.
- Nipple Reconstruction and Nipple Tattoo: Since mastectomy in men includes removal of the nipple and areola, nipple areola reconstruction or nipple tattoo can be performed to complete the breast reconstruction or may be performed without breast reconstruction.
- While immediate reconstruction at the time of mastectomy can be considered, in most cases, mastectomy and any other treatments for breast cancer are completed first
- After the mastectomy has healed, options for breast reconstruction can be determined
- In some cases, minor office procedures, such as scar revision, nipple areola reconstruction, or nipple areola tattoo can be performed under local anesthesia
- If you choose to have breast reconstruction, natural-tissue flap reconstruction is preferred for most patients, particularly those who have undergone radiation treatment
- Once the breast reconstruction has healed, minor revision procedures, such as fat grafting, may be desired
- Nipple reconstruction followed by nipple tattoo, or three-dimensional nipple tattoo alone, can provide the final step to breast reconstruction in men
Risks & Benefits
The risks of mastectomy and reconstruction in men depend on the surgical options chosen. The surgeons at NYBRA Plastic Surgery work closely with your breast surgeon and oncologist to coordinate any plan for reconstruction. We will be able to guide you as to which options are right for you and which procedures can be safely incorporated into your overall care plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my insurance company consider breast reconstruction in a man to be cosmetic?
No, this is not considered to be cosmetic surgery. Insurance coverage is provided for breast reconstruction surgery in men with breast cancer facing mastectomy.
At what point in my treatment should I consider having reconstructive surgery?
Unfortunately, many men aren’t given the option of reconstruction when they are told that they need to have a mastectomy. Ideally, we prefer to evaluate patients shortly after diagnosis so that we can assist in treatment planning if breast reconstruction is being considered. However, patients interested in breast reconstruction can also be evaluated at any point after the mastectomy has healed.
Latissimus Flap: Delayed Reconstruction
Fifty-four-year-old man treated left breast cancer with mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. He later chose to have LD flap reconstruction on the left side, followed by staged nipple areola reconstruction and...See full Before & After Gallery