Is It Better to Get Immediate or Delayed Breast Reconstruction?

Published on June 6, 2019

When you’re thinking of things like breast-cancer treatment options, an impending mastectomy, and healing from the surgery, the decision of whether or not to get breast-reconstruction surgery might be the last thing on your mind.

Happily, advances in breast-reconstruction procedures in the last decade have been so major that they’ve made the matter of when and how to get a breast reconstruction much easier. There is a lot of information and guidance available to help guide your decision.

With this blog, we can help you understand the breast-reconstruction procedure and make it easier to decide on the best breast-reconstruction option based on your condition.

The Two Types of Breast Reconstruction

There are two types of breast-reconstruction procedures to consider: immediate breast reconstruction and delayed breast reconstruction. Immediate reconstruction happens during the same surgical session as mastectomy surgery, whereas delayed reconstruction occurs during a different session further down the line.

You will also need to decide on the material that will be used for your reconstruction: silicone implants, saline implants, or autologous reconstruction. Your decision to go for immediate or delayed breast reconstruction depends a lot on the material you opt for.

Silicone or Saline Implants

If you plan to go for silicone or saline implants, the implants can be placed immediately after the mastectomy.

This way, when you wake up after mastectomy, you will have your new breasts. Since implants are placed directly at the site of mastectomy, the procedure can be conducted in a less invasive manner.

Autologous Reconstruction

If you choose to go for autologous reconstruction, in which fat, skin, and/or muscle tissue from areas like your back, inner thighs, or buttocks are used to reconstruct the breasts, there will be two sites that require healing. These are the donor sites and the grafting sites.

However, one of the major benefits of this method is that because your own tissues are used to reconstruct your breasts, it gives them a more natural feel compared to implants.

Because of the longer healing time, it is preferable to get autologous reconstruction at a later date (delayed reconstruction). Most women prefer to get autologous reconstruction six to twelve months after their mastectomy, which gives their body enough time to heal before reconstruction.

One point that should be considered is that any kind of healing will take longer if the patient has to undergo chemotherapy after surgery. In that case, having just the mastectomy and implants (or tissue expanders to make room for future autologous implants) is preferable.

Which Reconstruction Method Is Best for You?

To decide whether immediate or delayed breast reconstruction works better for you, arrange an informative consultation by contacting our office. This will help you make a decision based on your unique medical condition, lifestyle, personal preferences, and any additional therapies that you might need to undergo.

Doctors Matthew Romans and Jeremy Silk are board-certified plastic surgeons with years of skill and numerous satisfied patients. Meeting with them is the best way to decide on the details of your procedure.