Stage 1. The initial flap is performed to restore the breast with natural, soft, and potentially sensate tissue.
Stage 2. After about 3 months a secondary "symmetry" procedure is performed, usually as an outpatient, where the reconstructed breast is "sculpted" to match the other breast. Frequently the normal breast is lifted for a more youthful, symmetric appearance.
Stage 3. The nipple is then reconstructed from the flap tissue and the areola is tattooed in an office procedure.