Breast Reconstruction after Mastectomy – How Long Can I Wait?

Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons Serving Denver, Lone Tree, Colorado & Nationwide

The timing of your breast reconstruction needs to be personalized, taking into account factors such as:

  • Your cancer specifics
  • Your health
  • Your desires
  • Your breast surgeon’s medical advice
  • Your medical and radiation oncologists’s advice
  • Your plastic surgeon’s experience with treatment scenarios

woman in pink bra checking herself for breast cancerBreast cancer treatment continues to evolve as more information is learned and more scientific studies are performed. Detection is improving, chemotherapy is improving, radiation techniques are maturing, and breast-conservation surgery is being emphasized.

Many women are appropriate candidates for “less surgery” by performing lumpectomies and sentinel lymph node biopsies combined with radiation therapy instead of the radical mastectomies of years ago. However, the mastectomy (removal of all the breast tissue), in one form or other, is still an important and reliable technique for many women diagnosed with breast cancer and those women who have genetically high risks for developing breast cancer.

The American Society of Plastic Surgery data indicates that approximately 93,000 breasts were reconstructed after a mastectomy in 2010. Despite the seemingly high number, recent data suggest that 70% of women do not select to have undergo reconstruction after mastectomy and that only 3 out of 10 women are fully educated about reconstructive options after mastectomy.

Learning about Breast Reconstruction Options

Many women develop a healthy body image and effectively “move on” after a mastectomy. These women may not desire reconstruction of the breast. Unfortunately, many women suffer significant psychological or functional loss after the physical loss of a breast(s). Many of these women would be good candidates for reconstruction.

There are many women, mothers, and wives who have had their breast or breasts removed who don’t know that their breast can be effectively reconstructed even decades later. Some patients are excellent candidates to start their breast reconstruction the same day as their mastectomy. In other patients, it is more prudent to wait until after their mastectomy, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy to start the reconstruction. A breast can be reconstructed the same day when it is removed or anytime afterwards as long as the patient’s health is reasonable and there are no other contraindications.

A consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon at The Breast Center Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery with a significant expertise in breast reconstruction can help educate you on your personal choices. To schedule a consultation, please call 303-706-1100 or schedule an appointment online.