Do I Have to Wait Until After a Mastectomy Before Having Breast Reconstruction?
A common misconception we often hear at PRMA Plastic Surgery is, “You’ll need to wait until after a mastectomy before having breast reconstruction.”
This is not always the case.
After breast cancer, many women are faced with the decision of potentially losing one or both breasts. In some cases, a mastectomy is needed to remove all of the breast cancer. Removing all of the cancer is most important, however, it is normal to be concerned about how life will look after a mastectomy.
Immediate vs. Delayed Reconstruction
At PRMA, our Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons are able to do an immediate reconstruction (meaning at the same time as the mastectomy). Breast reconstruction can also be performed weeks, months, or years later. This is known as “delayed reconstruction.”
Many factors influence the decision to have immediate or delayed reconstruction, including:
- If radiation is needed to treat the breast cancer.
- Breast cancer stage.
- Your personal preferences and lifestyle.
- Your health condition.
Immediate reconstruction happens at the exact same time as a mastectomy. A plastic surgeon will replace the breast using an implant or tissue (this is the preferred technique at PRMA) from another region of the body as soon as the breast is removed. However, immediate reconstruction may not be possible if you need to undergo additional radiation or chemotherapy treatments.
Typically delayed reconstruction can happen weeks to years after a mastectomy. If a patient needs chemotherapy or radiation following a mastectomy, this is suggested because it may affect the outcome of the reconstruction.
An exception to performing the mastectomy at the same time as the breast reconstruction surgery would be if the patient needs radiation and needs to undergo a tissue-based reconstruction, such as the DIEP flap. In this case, our surgeons might wait so the flap itself doesn’t get radiated.
To learn more about your breast reconstruction options, or to schedule a consultation with one of our Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons, please fill out our virtual consultation form. We look forward to hearing from you!