Timing of Reconstruction
Since every patient and each cancer is unique, the timing of breast reconstruction can vary depending on what cancer treatments are required. In general, the timing can be categorized into immediate or delayed reconstruction.
‘Immediate’ reconstruction is when the breast reconstruction occurs at the same time as the mastectomy. One major benefit of immediate reconstruction is being able to wake up from anesthesia with a breast reconstruction and not having to live with a mastectomy. There is also opportunity for a potentially better cosmetic outcome by being able to utilize skin-sparing mastectomy scars. Frequently, if only one breast is undergoing mastectomy and reconstruction, the other breast can be lifted and shaped to provide good symmetry.
‘Delayed’ reconstruction is when the reconstruction is performed at another time after the mastectomy and other treatments have been completed. Mastectomy without reconstruction is frequently performed when the woman has an advanced cancer, requires radiation therapy, has other medical issues, or has not been previously counselled about breast reconstruction. Although the scar pattern after delayed breast reconstruction is usually not as ideal as with an immediate reconstruction, the shape and appearance in clothing should be excellent.