What are my options?
The options for you will be discussed with your surgeons who will take in to account your specific needs and wishes. Together you will reach a decision on what is best for you.
Breast reconstruction often involves more than one procedure performed in stages, and it can either begin at the time of mastectomy or be delayed until a later date. There are a number of factors that can determine the timing and optimal method of breast reconstruction including the type of your mastectomy, other oncologic treatments that you will need, and your body type.
Immediate Breast Reconstruction
Immediate breast reconstruction (IBR) surgery begins at the time of mastectomy. During the same operation that 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 with fewer days in the hospital and less time required for recovery
- Surgery and recovery time may be longer
- Could have a higher risk of complications after surgery if other oncologic treatments are combined with reconstruction (talk to your surgeon about what’s best for you)
Delayed Breast Reconstruction
Your reconstructive surgery is scheduled after you have healed from 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