Immediate vs. Delayed Breast Reconstruction

A breast cancer diagnosis can be anxiety provoking, especially if it leads to a decision for breast reconstruction. It’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions when deciding the best course of action. Learning about the procedure is invaluable in helping determine a customized plan of action. There are choices, which include immediate and delayed breast reconstruction surgery.

What is Breast Reconstruction Surgery?

Breast reconstruction surgery is the rebuilding of the breast after a unilateral or bilateral mastectomy, restoring wholeness and confidence to patients faced with breast cancer. Women have different goals for breast reconstruction surgery which may include simply replacing the tissue they have lost to the mastectomy, or enlarging their breasts while they have the opportunity or even reducing the size of their breasts from pre-surgery. Whichever breast reconstruction option, finding the right doctor to guide you every step of the way is invaluable.

What is Immediate Breast Reconstruction?

Immediate breast reconstruction is when your breast reconstruction surgery takes place at the same time as your mastectomy. This is an option in most cases. Some issues may factor into your decision to have immediate breast reconstruction, including the stage of cancer you have, your medical conditions, your personal preference, lifestyle goals and whether or not you will need additional treatment for your breast cancer, like radiation.

Immediate breast reconstruction can offer a great deal of relief for women, as they do not have to wait weeks, months or even years for reconstructed breast tissue. It also generally provides better cosmetic results, requires fewer surgeries (and therefore fewer surgery-related costs) and has no effect on whether or not breast cancer will reappear.

What is Delayed Breast Reconstruction?

Delayed breast reconstruction surgery is when a woman waits weeks, months or even years after their mastectomy to have breast reconstruction performed. There are a variety of reasons for the decision to delay breast reconstruction surgery, including not wanting radiation treatment to interfere with the reconstructed tissue and wanting to take time to decide on the breast reconstruction technique. It’s a very personal decision and one your doctor can help guide by explaining all of the options.

Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgeries

There are two types of breast reconstruction surgeries – implant and flap. Implant breast reconstruction surgery uses a silicone or saline implant that is placed in the remaining breast tissue to rebuild the breast. Women who decide to go for a fuller breast volume after a mastectomy often use this technique. There are also a variety of flap procedures, in which tissue and fat from your own body are used to rebuild your breast. Both implant and flap procedures can be performed either with immediate breast reconstruction surgery or delayed breast reconstruction surgery.

I Need a Mastectomy. What Now?

If you have already decided to have a mastectomy, it’s important to understand your options for post-surgery. Dr. Comizio, one of the leading breast reconstruction plastic surgeons in the area, will help guide you through all of your options. Simply the office to schedule a consultation: (973) 775-9248.