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Breast Reconstruction

Immediate vs. Delayed Reconstruction

In most cases, breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as your mastectomy, and is referred to as “immediate reconstruction.” Reconstruction can also be performed weeks, months, or years later. This is known as “delayed reconstruction.”

The decision to have immediate versus delayed reconstruction is depends on many factors, including:

  • Breast cancer stage
  • Your medical condition
  • Your preference and lifestyle
  • Additional therapies (such as radiation) needed to treat the breast cancer

Immediate Reconstruction

Immediate Breast Reconstruction
Advantages

  • Decreased risk of social or emotional difficulties
  • Better cosmetic results
  • Possibly fewer surgeries and lower surgery cost
  • No difference in rate of development of local cancer recurrence
  • No difference in the ability to detect local cancer recurrence
  • No significant delays in getting other cancer treatments

Disadvantages

  • Harder to detect mastectomy skin problems
  • Longer hospitalization and recovery times than if you had mastectomy alone
  • More scarring than mastectomy alone

Delayed Reconstruction

Delayed Breast Reconstruction

Advantages

  • Additional cancer therapy after mastectomy (such as radiation) does not cause problems at the reconstruction site
  • Gives patients more time to consider breast reconstruction options

Disadvantages

  • Mastectomy scar on chest wall
  • Requires additional surgery and recovery time
  • Sometimes difficult to reconstruct after scarring occurs
  • Less optimal cosmetic results

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center