Reconstruction of breasts that have been removed due to cancer or other disease is one of the most rewarding surgical procedures available for women today. New medical techniques and devices have made it possible for surgeons to create a breast that can come close in form and appearance to a natural breast. Frequently, breast reconstruction starts immediately following breast removal (mastectomy).
Choosing immediate or delayed breast reconstruction
If and when you will have breast reconstruction following a mastectomy is your personal decision. Many women choose to meet with a plastic surgeon prior to scheduling a mastectomy, so that they have the option of having both procedures performed at the same time, a procedure known as immediate breast reconstruction. This approach provides the advantage of fewer surgeries for the patient and often results in a better aesthetic outcome.
Other women may not want to think about reconstruction while coping with a cancer diagnosis, and may choose to wait until later to start considering reconstructive surgery. This approach, known as delayed breast reconstruction, is also sometimes necessary in women who need further radiation treatment following a mastectomy.
In any case, being informed of your reconstruction options before surgery can help you prepare for a mastectomy with a more positive outlook for the future.