Breast Reconstruction


Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure often performed to rebuild the shape, symmetry and size of the breasts after surgery from breast cancer, including lumpectomy or mastectomy.

There may be several ways to reconstruct your breast. Dr Shortt will discuss the different options with you based on your own personal needs. In general, lumpectomy defects can often be corrected with a scar revision and fat transfer to the breast. For mastectomy defects the most common option is to use your own tissue or an implant. When your own tissue (flap) is used there are several options. However, the lower abdomen usually presents the best option for women that have had children. It provides the best natural feel and appearance to the breast. In this setting, Dr Shortt performs a DIEP flap that removes the lower abdominal skin and fat, but leaves all the muscles behind. Dr Shortt then performs microsurgery to reconnect the flap to a blood vessel in the chest. However, not everyone is suitable for this surgery, and options from your back and thighs may also be discussed.

Implant based reconstruction usually involves placement of a tissue expander either at the time of your mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) or sometime after. After the expander has reached its desired size, it is then exchanged for an implant, typically one that is tear drop shaped and made of cohesive gel silicone. This is the same type of implant used in breast augmentation. Nipple reconstruction is usually done 2-3 months after your breast mound is created with either your own tissue or a breast augmentation implant. Some refinements to perfect the shape, symmetry and size may also be done. This may include breast fat transfer. Finally, tattooing can be done to complete the cosmetic look.

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This is not done by Dr Shortt, but he will refer you to experts in that field, should you wish. Balancing procedures can also be performed to the opposite breast. This typically includes a breast augmentation, breast lift (mastopexy), or breast reduction.


Breast reconstruction is customized for each patient, depending on their needs.

Breast reconstruction is extremely variable and highly tailored to each patient. It can be a transformative procedure that brings a sense of wholeness and self-esteem to patients. Many patients express tremendous gratitude for being made “complete” again. However, it is not for everyone. It can be an emotional ride, and not always straight forward. What is done for each patient really depends on the type of problem that needs correction.

Some of the common procedures include:


Use of a tissue expander to create more skin after a mastectomy

Use of a breast implant to provide volume after a mastectomy

Tissue from your abdomen, back or other part of the body to provide either skin, fat volume or both.

Fat which is liposuctioned and injected into the breast area to correct a lumpectomy defect, provide better concealment of a breast implant or tissue reconstruction (flap), or to increase volume of the breast

Rearrangement of breast tissue to fill a defect caused by lumpectomy, scarring or radiation.

Fat used to offset some of the damage caused by radiation, making the breast skin more suitable for reconstruction

Nipple reconstruction

Most patients would benefit from one or even several of the above options to create the most natural and beautiful breast reconstruction possible.

What about the opposite breast?


For patients that have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy on one side, often something needs to be done on the opposite side to achieve the best possible balance or symmetry. Although, the goal may be to achieve perfect symmetry, that is not realistic. However, reconstructive surgeons try very hard to get things as close as possible.

Common procedures for the opposite breast include a breast lift, breast reduction, and breast augmentation. In most cases, the surgery to bring the opposite breast into balance with the affected breast is covered by OHIP. A fee may apply, should a patient wish to enhance their breasts beyond just repair of a cancer deformity and the associated balancing. The most common situation would be a patient that desires a cosmetic breast augmentation. A portion of the surgery may be covered by OHIP, while a portion may be self-pay.



Breast reconstruction is customized for each patient, depending on their needs.

When to consider having this procedure?

In general, candidates for breast reconstruction surgery are in good health, are able to have general anaesthetic, and may have one or more of the following characteristics:




desire to rebuild the shape, symmetry and size of the breasts after surgery from breast cancer, including lumpectomy or mastectomy


may consider a breast implant or use their own tissue called a flap


consider breast fat transfer to shape or correct symmetry of the breasts, following breast reconstruction

What is the recovery time?

In general, the recovery time following a breast reconstruction is dependant on the type of procedure, but may take 1-2 and up to 6 weeks. As with any surgery under general anaesthetic, there are potential risks or complications to consider. During your private consultation, Dr Shortt will take a thorough medical history from you, discuss your surgical options, explain the complete procedure and potential risks, discuss what to expect pre and post breast augmentation surgery, and your estimated recovery time.

For additional information, Dr Shortt would direct you to the website where he did his fellowship training with world renowned breast and microsurgeon, Dr Edward Buchel.

Learn more about Breast Reconstruction in Dr Shortt’s Blog

The Longevity of Breast Implants: Do They Have To Be Replaced?

I see a lot of patients for breast surgery. It is a significant part of my practise. I do both cosmetic breast surgery and reconstructive breast surgery. One of the questions that I often get from both groups is how long will my implants last? I tell my patients that we really don’t know. In general, they are very robust.

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Dr Shortt is talented, trustworthy, and kind – he deserves more than 5 stars!

Dr Shortt was has been incredible! I went to him in search of options for correctly my breast asymmetry. I read a lot of reviews for plastic surgeons in and around Toronto and I chose Dr Shortt because his reviews were overwhelmingly positive. Initially, I was interested in fat grafting because I feared an implant would be obvious. At my consultation, Dr Shortt explained the advantages and disadvantages of both options. His opinion was that an implant would actually be the better choice because breast augmentation with an implant is much more predictable and due to the difference in my breasts, I would probably need multiple sessions of fat grafting, which would get quite expensive. After the consultation, I understood why an implant would be the better choice for me and my body. He wrote a letter on my behalf advocating that my surgery be covered by OHIP, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, and they agreed to cover it! I really appreciated that Dr Shortt was honest about what he thought would make me the most happy (an implant in one side), not what would make him the most money (multiple sessions of fat grafting). Throughout the whole process, he was patient, understanding, and confident. His sense of humour put me at ease on surgery day and I couldn’t be happier with the results of my surgery. I didn’t want bigger breasts, just more symmetrical ones and he managed to balance me out beautifully without even touching my bigger left breast. My surgery was three weeks ago and except for the scar (which is healing beautifully) you can’t even tell I had surgery. My new breast looks and feels great and I can’t stop buying pretty new bras now that any bra will work for me. I can’t wait for bikini season! Dr Shortt is talented, trustworthy, and kind. As soon as you meet him, you’ll see that he truly cares about your happiness. Thank you, Dr Shortt!

Amazing experience

Dr. Shortt was very easy to talk to, he made me feel comfortable about having the breast reconstruction. I had a breast removed on May 25,2015 due to cancer. One of the cancer doctors in the Hamilton Cancer Center recommended Dr. Shortt. This was a great turning point in my life. I could not begin to tell you how great this experience was. He is so down to earth, kept me calm in talking about the surgery. If I had to tell another person dealing with breast cancer and having to have it removed, to see Dr. Shortt. This was a very traumatic experience to go through but this doctor made it easier to deal with the operation.

I highly recommend Dr Shortt if you are considering any surgery.

From his front office staff (Joanne) to his OR staff and Dr. Shortt himself, all made my experience a good one. I highly recommend Dr Shortt if you are considering any surgery.

I am very grateful to Dr. Shortt for his skills which have made me feel and look whole again.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, facing the necessity for a mastectomy and frightened of the unknown that lay ahead of me. I quickly researched the various breast reconstruction options including flap reconstruction and which plastic surgeons were skilled in this microsurgery procedure. I was EXTREMELY fortunately to learn about Dr. Shortt.
My reconstruction was a multi-step process over 2.5 years and during each consultation, surgery and post-op appointment, Dr. Shortt and his staff (Kristen, Joanne) were professional, compassionate and attentive to my questions.
I am very grateful to Dr. Shortt for his skills which have made me feel and look whole again. Thank you Dr. Shortt!

I recently had a face lift with Dr. Shortt and i am extremely happy with the results.

I recently had a face lift with Dr. Shortt and i am extremely happy with the results.
When I first met Dr. Shortt I was very impressed that he was such a caring and conscientious medical professional. From the moment you step in his office you feel at ease. He asked what my goals were, took time to explain various options open to me as well as the procedure itself.
Most important was the time he took to answer all my questions and concerns. I was so impressed, I booked my surgery before leaving that day and I am so glad I did.
From the first initial consult to the post-operative appointments, he has been there with me all the way with his compassion and caring manner.
I highly recommend Dr. Shortt. Thank you so much Dr. Shortt!

I am soo happy to have found Dr shortt..I feel so lucky

I am soo happy to have found Dr shortt..I feel soo lucky to have followed my gutt feeling and chose Dr shortt as my surgeon..I was between Dr shortt and another Hollywood Dr in the states..after having a skyp call with both of them..I felt instant comfort with Dr shortt.. he explained everything about the procedure ( the tummy thigh and breast lift) and really took time answering all my questions and concerns…I got very nervous as the day got closer.. but as soon as I saw him in person( I forgot to mention that I flew all the way from Dubai to Toronto for this and boy am I glad) as soon as I saw him in person I felt that sense of comfort I had during my skyp calls ..
Do now let me tell you about my recovery..I had the surgery and got discharged same day.. my breast lift was a piece of cake. I did feel nothing but a sense of discomfort to say the most.. however it was okaaay, controlable with meds..I walked immediately as per Dr shortt recommendation.. but I stayed home for the first 5 days because my meds were making me drowsy .. for the next 5 days .. off meds by now(i chose to do so because I got bored and s wanted to get out) it was torture I couldn’t walk more than an hour in the mall or so and it was very painful getting out of bed.. after 10 days it got soo much better .. at 15 days I was perfectly fine.

Nowabout my results..I am one month in and soo thrilled of the outcomes..I was soo ecstatic .. of my new set of knockers I was showing them to all my girlfriends.. they could not believe that I didn’t have implants in .. they were asking me to touch them to make sure and asked me are you sure Dr didn’t insert any kind of support ????????.. because there too perky with beautiful shape..Dr shortt not only does a lift.. apparently during the procedure.. somehow he shapes the fat as well to create fullness in the right more lifted breasts.. and i have to say i have heavy breasts i am 32DD so that was a phenomenal thing to achieve.. the scars are amazing almost invisible now.
About my tummy tuck..I have to say i am a fit person I exercise alot and I have strong abs and mainly wanted the tummy tuck for the muscle repairs.. mine were strong but a bit separated and you can only do soo much with working out.. my stomach is so flat now.. it’s unbelievable. And it supposed to get even better with time and exercise ..I can’t wait to have a six pack????????
I would like to thank Dr shortt and Joanne.. his amazing secretary assistant.. she was soo nice and warm..I am soo greatful for them both.. and i will defenitly consider coming back for any cosmetic procedures in the future .. it was defenitly worth the 17 hours journey from Dubai.!!

I am very grateful for the new me!!

This experience took awhile to absorb for a few reasons. Clearly a breast cancer diagnosis is a scary reality but I am happy to say with the beautiful reconstruction surgery I went through under the care of Dr. Shortt I am now starting to feel like a beautiful person on the inside and out! I very grateful for the new me!! Sincerely
M. Dohan

Feel and look better than ever before.