When one or both breasts are completely or partially removed for breast cancer, a deformity is left. There are numerous ways to reconstruct this deformity but the exact method depends on many factors including breast size and shape, chest dimensions, your height and weight, the extent of cancer, history of radiation and potential future need for radiation.
In general, breasts can be reconstructed by using your own tissue (skin, fat, and muscle) from the stomach or back. Or they can be reconstructed by using an implant. Depending on your deformity and your desired size, a temporary expander may need to be placed in order to stretch the skin to accommodate a larger implant or skin/muscle flap.