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. Please call 303-706-1100 to get started.
Timing Is Important
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
Immediate breast reconstruction is when the breast reconstruction is started the same day as the patient’s mastectomy (removal of the breast). The entire reconstruction process is not finished the day of your mastectomy, but the first step is completed, and the patient usually wakes up with a reconstruction that is beginning to take the shape of the breast.
Immediate breast reconstruction can be performed with either tissue expander/implant strategies or autologous tissue (using tissue from the patient’s own body) strategies. After the general surgeon completes the mastectomy, your plastic surgeon starts by placing either a tissue expander in the breast pocket (implant-based strategy) or takes the skin and fat from the donor site and creates two breasts (autologous tissue reconstruction).
Advantages of Immediate Breast Reconstruction:
- Preserving more native skin from the breast
- Often a slightly better cosmetic result
- Working in a breast that has minimal or no scar tissue
- The patient wakes up with some form of a breast mound
- Convenience of combining the mastectomy and the first stage of the reconstruction
Disadvantages of Immediate Breast Reconstruction:
- The reconstruction could be adversely affected by post-operative chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- Too much information for the patient to absorb in a short time and patient may feel overwhelmed by the options
- It is more challenging for women with larger breasts
- May have a higher infection rate for patients undergoing tissue expander/implant strategies
- May not be the right option for locally advanced breast cancers
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.
During your consultation with Dr. Jeremy Williams and Dr. Christopher Williams, they will discuss with you which option or 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.