The timing of your breast reconstruction can be a complex decision. There are many factors to consider, including your health, your cancer specifics, your goals, and any specific feedback from your breast oncologic surgeon, your medical and radiation oncologist, and your plastic surgeon.
During your consultation at The Breast Center Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery, your plastic surgeon will go over specific options with you. The final decision as to when to start your breast reconstruction may not be made at your initial consultation, but may involve further discussions with your oncology team and surgeons. To schedule your initial appointment, please call 303-706-1100 today.
Breast Reconstruction Options
When considering timing of your breast reconstruction, there are three strategies:
- Immediate breast reconstruction
- Delayed breast reconstruction
- Hybrid Immediate-Delayed, also known as a “staged approach” to breast reconstruction.
Delayed breast reconstruction occurs when patients have already had their mastectomy prior to starting the breast reconstruction. The mastectomy could have been performed six months earlier, 5 years earlier — any time in the past.
We have a Before & After Gallery dedicated to displaying patient photos in which the patient's mastectomy was performed either months or years prior to reconstruction.
There are almost always techniques that can be considered in patients with a mastectomy defect. Depending on the patient’s clinical scenario, often tissue expanders and implants can be used. Frequently, however, a patient needs to consider using an autologous tissue reconstruction in which skin, fat, and sometimes muscle from the patient’s body is moved from a distant site to the chest to build the breast.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Delayed Breast Reconstruction
Benefits of this strategy include:
- The timing of surgery can be optimized for the patient’s health status
- All the chemotherapy and radiation therapy is already done
- Likely a lower infection rate than immediate breast reconstruction
- Patients may consider their options carefully and there is no rush to decide on a technique
Disadvantages of delayed breast reconstruction include:
- There is usually less native breast skin preserved to make a breast
- Often harder to get a superior cosmetic result
- The patient requires at least one extra operation since the reconstruction was not combined with the mastectomy
From this point on, additional surgeries may be required to achieve final contouring and shape your surgeon desires; in addition, a nipple will be constructed, and then pigmentation is placed around the areola.
If you have had a mastectomy and are considering reconstruction, we would love to visit with you about your options. During your consultation with Dr. Jeremy Williams, Dr. Christopher Williams and Dr. Michael Miller, they discuss with you which options they think are best for you based on your unique situation. To schedule a consultation, please call 303-706-1100 or schedule an appointment online.