In the 1990’s, only approximately 3% of women opted for bilateral (both sides) mastectomy when facing a diagnosis of breast cancer in one breast. Today, that percentage is closer to 15%. The reasons are unclear. They may be related to improvements in breast reconstruction, increased genetic testing or fear. Many of these women tend to be younger in age based on my experience.

Based on a recent study in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the rates for immediate reconstruction have increased over the last ten years, up from 20.8% in 1998 to 37.8% in 2008. Implant used has risen approximately 11% every year, most likely related to the increase in bilateral mastectomies.

Women need to make sure they are seeing a breast surgeon who can give them data about their risk of recurrence, survival percentage and make the best recommendation whether breast conservation or mastectomy is warranted. They need to see a plastic surgeon trained in all techniques of breast reconstruction who tailors the surgery to their desires.