Breast reconstruction and flat closure


Breast reconstruction is surgery to rebuild a breast shape after mastectomy.

This section provides information about types of surgical reconstruction following mastectomy. For information on external prostheses please go to NSW Cancer Council's Understanding Breast Prostheses & Reconstruction.

There are two main types of breast reconstruction:

  • surgical insertion of a breast implant
  • transfer of a portion of tissue, skin and often muscle from another part of the body to the chest area – this is called a tissue flap breast reconstruction.

You do not have to make a decision about breast reconstruction straight away. Take time to review the information available. You may not get through it all in one sitting, but may look through this information over time.

Flat closure after mastectomy

Breast reconstruction is not for everyone. A woman may decide for a variety of reasons that she does not want to have a breast reconstruction after mastectomy. She may choose instead to have her chest wall reconstructed and the excess skin and tissue removed – known as aesthetic breast flat closure Some are happy to live with their post mastectomy shape, and others use an external breast prosthesis to recreate breast shape. Information about external breast prosthesis can also be found within this section.

Following a mastectomy, women may choose an aesthetic flat closure, which is sometimes referred to as “going flat” or “living flat”. There may be several reasons why women choose to “go flat”, including personal preferences, health issues which prevent further surgeries and concerns about costs. More information is available via Breast Cancer Network of Australia.


Mastectomy may be used to reduce the risk of breast cancer developing in women with a high risk of breast cancer. This is called preventative or prophylactic mastectomy. Mastectomy may also be used to treat breast cancer in women who have been diagnosed with the disease. Use the links below to find information that applies to your situation:

  • Breast reconstruction for women considering preventative (prophylactic) mastectomy
  • Breast reconstruction for women with a breast cancer diagnosis
  • Making decisions about breast reconstruction
  • Types of breast reconstruction

After reviewing the information relevant to your situation you are encouraged to discuss the information and any questions you may have with your health care professionals.

The images provided on this site are a guide to surgical outcomes and may vary in each individual case.

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While Cancer Australia develops material based on the best available evidence, this information is not intended to be used as a substitute for an independent health professional’s advice. Cancer Australia does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information contained in this document.