Timing of Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction and the timing of reconstruction does not increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence, impact prognosis or decrease survival. With so much to think about after a breast cancer diagnosis, many patients facing mastectomy do not fully understand how the timing of breast reconstruction influences how the reconstructed breasts will ultimately look.
Breast Reconstruction can be performed at the same time as mastectomy or years later.
Breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as the mastectomy (“immediate reconstruction”) or any time after the mastectomy (“delayed reconstruction”).
When the mastectomy and reconstruction are performed at the same time, a skin-sparing can usually be performed which saves the majority of the natural breast skin envelope. Only the actual breast tissue under the skin is removed. The reconstruction then “fills” this empty skin envelope.
In many cases nipple-sparing mastectomy can be performed. This preserves the nipple and areola as well as the entire breast skin envelope. Nipple-sparing mastectomy is the latest evolution in mastectomy technique and provides the best cosmetic results without compromising cancer care.Whether the reconstructive process is started at the same time as the mastectomy (“immediate”) or some time after (“delayed’), it important for patients to realize that in most cases, further surgery is required to complete the reconstructive process and achieve the best results.
Immediate breast reconstruction is typically associated with the least amount of scarring and the best cosmetic results. Immediate reconstruction does not typically delay other components of breast cancer treatment like chemotherapy. Most breast cancer patients, especially those with early disease (stage 1 or 2) are candidates.
Delayed reconstruction usually leaves more scarring and the final breast is less likely to look like the breasts Mother Nature provided.
Several factors can influence breast reconstruction timing
Common medical reasons to delay reconstruction include advanced breast cancer (stage III or IV), inflammatory breast cancer, and the plan for radiation therapy after mastectomy. While immediate breast reconstruction can still be performed if radiation is planned, many plastic surgeons prefer to delay reconstruction until some time after radiation has been completed to decrease the risk of complications. Other reasons to delay reconstruction may be…
- The patient’s overall health
- Patient preference
- Access to a reconstructive surgeon
Whenever possible, immediate breast reconstruction should be considered to allow for the best final cosmetic results.
The difference in scarring between immediate and delayed breast reconstruction can be seen in these breast reconstruction before and after photos.
Learn more about your various breast reconstruction options here.
PRMA Plastic Surgery Patient Stories
Oh what I would give to have found PRMA before my mastectomy, prosthesis, implants and 6 plus years of not being satisfied. I thank God every day for bringing PRMA into my life and I thank them for doing what they do so well. My wish is that PRMA reaches as many women possible early on so they too can benefit from the amazing work that they do for breast cancer patients. I promote PRMA every chance I have!
I would like to say is throughout the whole procedure from the first procedure, to the second procedure, to my final procedures I never felt less than a woman. I like my breast, and so the entire time I never felt like I was not a woman at any point. So definitely I would recommend PRMA to anyone and everyone.
I’m super excited and love the results and feel amazing. I want to let anyone listening to this know that I had the worst anxiety before my surgery thinking of everything you can imagine. I can say that this was 100% the right choice for me I love the way that I look. The process was much easier than what I expected.
I knew I wanted to have a mastectomy, but I didn’t know about breast reconstruction. Dr. Ledoux gave me ALL the options I had, and I really appreciated that!
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