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A generation ago, mastectomy meant one thing: removal of the breast and chest muscle. Today, different types of mastectomy are available. Sometimes circumstances determine which mastectomy is best for a patient, particularly when there is already a diagnosis of breast cancer. Further, the type of mastectomy may affect a woman’s options for reconstruction. When mastectomies are performed to reduce risk of breast cancer, reconstruction can be done at the same time. This “immediate reconstruction” has cosmetic advantages over “delayed reconstruction” which is performed anytime after mastectomy, and is sometimes necessary when mastectomy is recommended as treatment for breast cancer. It is important to discuss your mastectomy and reconstructive options with your surgeons. Understand the potential benefits, risks and limitations of each option before your surgery.