When is it Time to Begin Breast Reconstruction?
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. It’s a perfect time to discuss the options women have when deciding to undergo breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Studies performed by various women’s cancer societies have shown that women are often overwhelmed and under-informed of the options available to them regarding breast reconstruction. To follow is some information about when to being the reconstruction process, and some information about how the process proceeds.
When is it the Right Time to Start the Breast Reconstruction Process?
Breast reconstruction can be immediate or delayed. Immediate reconstruction is done during the same surgery as mastectomy. Delayed reconstruction is a separate surgery following mastectomy after the patient has fully healed from the first procedure. Every patient is different and which method is best suited for your individual needs, with the highest level of safety considered is best determined between you and your board-certified plastic surgeon.
Immediate Breast Reconstruction
- Safe option for many patients
- The breast mound is created immediately after mastectomy while the patient remains under anesthesia.
- Immediate reconstruction reduces negative self-image problems that often arise after mastectomy.
- Amount of anesthetics is reduced through this method, which lowers risks of complication associated with anesthesia.
Delayed Breast Reconstruction
- This method is performed months, or years post-mastectomy.
- Performed after cancer treatments are completed.
- Cannot be performed earlier than 6-9 months following radiation therapy because skin needs to properly heal.
Methods for Breast Reconstruction
Women interested in beginning the process of breast reconstruction should consult a plastic surgeon with expertise in breast reconstruction for the best option available to them. Some of the different methods are:
- Two-Stage Tissue Expander with Implant
- One-Stage Implant (requires a dermal matrix)
- Silicone or Saline Implants
- Autologous Tissue
- Abdominal Tissue
- Pedicle Transverse Rectus Abdominus Myocutaneous (TRAM) Flap
- Free Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator (DIEP) Flap
- Gluteal and Thigh Free Flaps
- Latissimus Dorsi Flap
If You Are Ready to Start Your Breast Reconstruction Process, Contact Dr. Mark H. Schwartz Today.
If you are interested in breast reconstruction and would like more information contact our Manhattan office today. We can be reached at 212-737-9090. We look forward to hearing from you!