Immediate breast reconstruction is performed at the same time that breast tissue is surgically removed either via a lumpectomy or mastectomy.
When breast reconstruction is performed immediately after a lumpectomy, your plastic surgeon will rearrange the remaining breast tissue and optimize the breast shape, typically by performing a breast lift or a breast reduction. This option may be available if you have small localized tumors.
When breast reconstruction is performed immediately following a mastectomy, your plastic surgeon will fill the empty space where the breast tissue was removed with a tissue expander, an implant, or a tissue flap.
Benefits of Immediate Breast Reconstruction
Choosing immediate breast reconstruction has several benefits including:
- preserving the skin in a breast shape
- a psychological sense of wholeness
- the ability to fill clothes without the need for an external prosthesis.
Delayed Breast Reconstruction
Some women choose to delay breast reconstruction for months or years after breast cancer treatment ends. They may not be ready to commit to immediate breast reconstruction and the complexity it adds to their breast cancer care. You can arrange an appointment with your plastic surgeon for delayed reconstruction at your convenience.
Breast Reconstruction Following Radiation and Chemotherapy
The use of chemotherapy and/or radiation to treat aggressive tumors can impact the type of reconstruction options available to you. This is because radiation therapy can damage the breast skin, which makes implant reconstruction challenging. If you are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, your plastic surgeon will help you determine the best timing and choose an option that is right for you.