Patient Questions

QUESTION

I'm Nervous About Breast Reconstruction with Mastectomy

My oncologist has recommended I have a mastectomy - I was diagnosed with breast cancer - and I'm going to have the surgery. He told me I could have reconstructive surgery on the breast at the same time--but I'm nervous about that. It just seems that the breast should be given time to heal and make sure that everything is ok first--but my doctor doesn't seem to think that would be an issue. Is it ok to have reconstruction at the same time as mastectomy--or are there advantages to waiting?

ANSWER

Breast Reconstruction Timing

Breast reconstruction timing is one of the key questions that you should discuss with a team. That team should consist of your plastic surgeon, your general surgeon and your oncologist. In my San Francisco area practice I have performed immediate and delayed breast reconstructions, tailoring each treatment for the patient. In my experience with implant reconstructions, pedicled TRAMS and microsurgical breast reconstruction including free TRAMs, DIEPS, SIEA and SGAP flaps you can achieve an equivalent reconstructive outcome regardless of the timing. The biggest consideration for possibly waiting for breast reconstruction is the oncologic nature of the breast cancer. If the general surgeon is relatively certain that the cancer can be completely resected at the time of the mastectomy then immediate breast reconstruction might be a good option. If there is consideration of chemotherapy or radiation you will get better results by waiting until after those treatments are complete. I hope this helps.

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