When breast reconstruction is performed at the same time as your mastectomy or lumpectomy, it is known as “immediate” reconstruction. Breast reconstruction that is performed weeks, months, or even years later is known as “delayed” reconstruction. In most cases, you will have a choice as to whether you want an immediate or delayed reconstruction procedure.
More and more women are choosing to have breast reconstruction immediately after their breast cancer surgery. The idea of having a combined surgery is appealing to many women. It minimizes the feeling of loss after mastectomy, since the reconstruction will be started immediately, rather than having to schedule a secondary procedure months later.
A significant advantage of immediate breast reconstruction is the probability of a better cosmetic result, particularly for women who have oncoplastic breast reconstruction. When performing an immediate reconstruction, Dr. Savalia works closely with the entire cancer care team to plan for the final cosmetic result.
Some women considering immediate breast reconstruction are concerned that the reconstruction may interfere with the ability to detect breast cancer recurrence. Immediate breast reconstruction has not been shown to delay the detection of local cancer recurrence, and immediate reconstruction is widely regarded as an acceptable treatment option for the right candidates.
Some women are encouraged by their doctors, or choose on their own, to delay reconstruction until after they have healed from their cancer surgery. The main advantage to such an approach is that it allows for additional cancer therapy, such as radiation, without compromising the effects of the treatment or the aesthetics of the reconstruction. Delayed reconstruction also may give a woman more time to consider her breast reconstruction options, or whether she wants to have reconstruction at all.
However, delayed reconstruction can be challenging for the plastic surgeon and patient for several reasons. First, scarring on the breast or chest wall can be difficult to remove or reconstruct once it develops. This may mean additional surgery and recovery time. In addition, the quality of cosmetic results with a delayed reconstruction may be lower than the results that can be achieved with immediate reconstruction procedures. Certainly, there are exceptions to this, but there is little disagreement over the aesthetic advantages of immediate breast reconstruction.
Many factors are involved in the timing of your breast reconstruction, including the stage, size, and location of your tumor, your overall medical condition, the need for radiation following surgery, and your personal preference.
The case featured above is an example of an immediate reconstruction procedure using a tissue expander, followed by a breast implant.
If you have questions about breast reconstruction, my staff and I are happy to help. By working with a team of Southern California's most experienced breast reconstruction surgeons, radiologists, and nurses, we are able to provide women with the best possible options for one of the most life-changing and rewarding surgeries. Please contact us online or call (949) 759-0980 for more information.
Dr. Savalia is known for the most innovative, advanced breast reconstruction techniques. He is a board certified plastic surgeon and artist who creates the most natural, elegant, personalized aesthetic results. He is as renown for his care and compassion as he is for extraordinary outcomes. This is why he was named one of Orange County’s Physicians of Excellence by his peers.
Dr. Savalia’s Breast Health Center team includes the finest oncologists, radiation specialists, geneticists, and nurse navigators. Being cared for by an established team is a great advantage for patients.
"I prefer a light-handed approach that leaves my patients looking visibly rejuvenated, not surgically enhanced."