What are my options?
Breast reconstruction often involves more than one procedure performed in stages, and it can either begin at the time of mastectomy or is delayed until a later date. There are a number of factors that contribute to timing and procedure including type of mastectomy, cancer treatments and your body type.
Immediate Breast Reconstruction
Immediate breast reconstruction (IBR) surgery begins at the time of mastectomy. After your general surgeon removes your breast tissue, your plastic surgeon begins reconstructive surgery. IBR is typically offered to women with earlier-stage cancers that don't need additional treatments (such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy).
- May eliminate an operation and save you money with fewer days in the hospital and less time required for recovery
- Can help you feel more confident coming out of a mastectomy knowing you're already on the path to the results you want
- Surgery and recovery time may be longer
- Could have a higher risk of complications after surgery if other treatments are combined with reconstruction (talk with your surgeon about what's best for you)
Delayed Breast Reconstruction
Your reconstructive surgery is scheduled after your mastectomy. The amount of time between surgeries depends on your unique situation.
- Allows your team of physicians to expedite other cancer treatments
- Minimizes added pressure by allowing you more time to consider your options
- Requires an additional operation and/or hospital visit
- Scarring from your mastectomy could make reconstruction more challenging