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  • Understanding Breast Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction is an option available to most women who have had breast cancer surgery. It is also an option for women who have had preventive breast removal. There are several options available which can be used to reconstruct the breast following a mastectomy.

When is breast reconstruction surgery performed?

The options of reconstruction will be discussed before a mastectomy . Surgical and non surgical options to restore body image will be discussed.  The best option and time for the patient to have the reconstructive surgery will depend on several factors. Patients’s lifestyle, cancer size, need for other treatments and treatment preferences need to be considered.  The priority is  to make sure that the treatment plan is optimal to make the patient cancer free.

Timing of breast reconstruction

Breast reconstruction can be done at the same time (immediate) as the mastectomy or at a later time (delayed). The need for radiation to treat the cancer is probably an important factor in determining if a woman will undergo an immediate or delayed breast reconstruction and also in determining which method of reconstruction she chooses

Immediate breast reconstruction

Immediate breast reconstruction may have a psychological benefit, as  the patient will not have a period of time with “no breasts’’. Immediate reconstruction preserves the greatest quantity of a woman’s own breast skin and also minimizes scarring on the breast. In addition, immediate reconstruction will reduce the number of surgical procedures needed to treat the cancer and reconstruct it.

Delayed Breast Reconstruction

Some women choose to delay breast reconstruction; their reasons for doing so are diverse. Sometimes it’s at the recommendation of the breast surgeon or oncologist. Others may want to get the breast cancer treatment as quickly as possible and decide about reconstruction later. Some may decide not to have a reconstruction initially but may want to have the shape restored later.