Breast reconstruction plays a significant role in the management of breast cancer. The removal of a breast has implications for the psychologic, social, and sexual well-being of the patient, establishing the need for discussion of postmastectomy breast reconstruction with suitable patients. However, operative morbidity and the potential for diminished oncologic safety are ongoing issues of contention. A Medline literature review was performed to evaluate the interplay between the psychosocial need for breast reconstruction in patients after mastectomy and the issues surrounding its oncologic safety. Immediate breast reconstruction does not impair the oncologic safety of breast cancer management, with no increase in local recurrence rates, and no delays in the initiation of adjuvant chemotherapy or radiation therapy (RT). Immediate breast reconstruction in the setting of chemotherapy is not associated with greater complication rates; however, there is some evidence for increased complications in the setting of adjuvant RT. Breast reconstruction has a positive effect on the psychosocial outcomes of mastectomy and is oncologically safe in the immediate and delayed settings. Ultimately, the decision-making process of whether to reconstruct, how to reconstruct, and when to reconstruct requires a multidisciplinary approach, with the patient, plastic surgeon, oncologic surgeon, medical oncologist, and radiation oncologist all contributing.
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