The timing of breast reconstruction is often determined by the stage of cancer and the oncologic treatment recommendations. However, in general, we refer to the timing as immediate or delayed.
Immediate breast reconstruction refers to reconstruction occurring at the same time as the mastectomy. There is a two-fold benefit of immediate reconstruction. The first, it provides a breast mound and avoids a flat chest wall. The second, the skin envelope can be utilized via a skin-sparing mastectomy, thus allowing for a potentially better aesthetic outcome.
Delayed breast reconstruction refers to reconstruction that is performed at another time following the mastectomy. A mastectomy without reconstruction is frequently performed when a woman has advanced cancer, requires radiation therapy, or has multiple medical comorbidities.
In general, it is best to see a breast reconstruction surgeon soon after your diagnosis. Many factors contribute to the timing of reconstruction, and involving the plastic surgeon early in this decision making will help to provide the best outcome. This is true regardless of your type of cancer or expected treatments.
Lastly, if you have already had a mastectomy and have completed the recommended adjuvant treatments, you are still a candidate for reconstruction. We are happy to assist you with your reconstructive needs at any point along your journey. If you would like to get in touch with a plastic surgeon regarding the best timing for your reconstructive breast surgery, please contact us in Dallas Fort Worth, Austin, or Oklahoma City.