Share Print

BRA Day Spotlights Reconstruction Options for Breast Cancer Patients

Jim Goodwin

Oct. 8, 2012 – Research shows that seven out of 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer are unaware of breast reconstruction options at the time of diagnosis.

That’s why the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Plastic Surgery Foundation have declared Oct. 17 Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day – to help spread the word.

“Cancer is a frightening diagnosis. Knowing treatment and post-treatment options gives comfort to patients and aids in their
healing,” says Keith Brandt, MD, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. Brandt also serves as a board member for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Keith Brandt, MD

Reconstruction options include: 

  • Immediate (at the time of mastectomy) or delayed surgical reconstruction, depending on additional treatments that are planned.
  • Expansion of the remaining breast skin and eventual filling of the breast skin envelope with an implant.
  • Transfer of tissue from the patient’s back or abdomen.
  • A combination of tissue and implant reconstruction. 

Patients can learn more about reconstruction options available at Siteman by visiting

Financial concerns can add to the stress of a breast cancer diagnosis, so patients should also talk with their health insurance carrier about costs related to reconstruction.

The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 requires insurance carriers to cover the cost of reconstruction and of procedures performed on the opposite breast for symmetry. Patients with no insurance can call Barnes-Jewish Hospital at 314-362-9100 to learn about their options.

Singer-songwriter Jewel is leading national efforts to raise awareness. She has written a song, Flower, for breast reconstruction patients. Proceeds will go to the Breast Reconstruction Awareness Fund of the Plastic Surgery Foundation. For more information, or to download the song, visit