Some women are good candidates for a one-stage, immediate breast reconstruction. In this technique, the reconstruction is started the same day as your mastectomy. Both the immediate and the delayed approach can use either breast implants or tissue flaps to reconstruct the breasts.
A new study suggests immediate breast reconstruction may spare a breast cancer patient from "psychosocial distress, poor body image and diminished sexual well-being" compared to a woman who waits to undergo reconstruction down the road – sometimes years down the road.
A Closer Look at the Research
It included 106 breast cancer patients. All of the patients underwent breast removal surgery, and all of them eventually had breast reconstruction. Thirty patients had immediate reconstruction while 76 underwent delayed breast reconstruction an average of three years after their mastectomies.
Among both groups of patients, anxiety decreased after reconstruction. Prior to their mastectomies, 26 percent of the women reported increased levels of anxiety, while 9 percent reported increased depression. But the women who opted for a delayed reconstruction were found to experience poorer body image, sexuality and health-related quality of life after their mastectomies. Then, six months after they underwent breast reconstruction, there was no difference in their body image concept compared to the women who underwent immediate reconstruction. After 12 to 18 months there was no difference in experiences of sexuality-based quality-of-life factors.
So what does this all mean? The authors of the study believe these findings suggest that the women who had to wait to receive reconstruction experienced greater mental stress in the period in between. The women who underwent immediate reconstruction seemed to have been spared from some of the anxiety that the other group of women experienced, and there is some indication that the immediate technique is what allowed them to avoid it.
Getting Personalized Answers About Breast Reconstruction
Deciding whether to have breast reconstruction is a deeply personal decision. Our board-certified plastic surgeons and our team are here to provide guidance, advice and support, but we respect any decision you make about your care.
If you are interested in the possibility of reconstruction, we can determine whether you are a candidate for an immediate or delayed approach, and we can clearly explain all other options related to any reconstruction you may choose to pursue. We are 100% committed to providing breast cancer survivors with all of the facts and information they deserve, and we'll help you weigh the pros and cons of all of your options.
To schedule a consultation at our practice, please call The Breast Center Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery at (720) 457-4461. We are located in Lone Tree, Colorado, and are proud to serve women from across the region, including Denver and the surrounding areas.