When faced with a breast cancer diagnosis that includes mastectomy, many women may feel pressured to make a decision about their breast reconstruction options right away. However, the choice between immediate vs. delayed reconstruction is a personal one that depends on many different factors.
As one of the best breast cancer surgeons in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and a board certified plastic surgeon who has performed hundreds of reconstructive procedures, Dr. Ricardo A. Meade knows the important role that breast reconstruction plays in the emotional and physical healing process after breast cancer. In addition to reconstructive breast surgery, Dr. Meade also offers cosmetic breast enhancement, as well as a full range of cosmetic surgery procedures for both men and women.
- Please contact us online or call 214.823.1691 for more information on breast reconstruction surgery at our Dallas or Plano plastic surgery offices. We encourage you to view breast reconstruction photos in our real patient before and after photo gallery to get a better sense of what this procedure can achieve.
Your consultation with Dr. Meade provides an opportunity for you to learn more about the differences between immediate and delayed breast reconstruction, as well as the other reconstruction options that may be available to you. Dr. Meade can also offer you the guidance you need to effectively coordinate your breast cancer treatment and reconstruction surgery in a way that feels less overwhelming. As part of your consultation, Dr. Meade will conduct a physical evaluation to determine your candidacy for breast reconstruction in general, as well as go over your health history, before making any recommendations for the next step of your care.
Preparing for Surgery
As the time gets closer to your surgery, Dr. Meade may request specific lab tests or medical evaluations, including a mammogram. He can also work closely with other health care providers as needed in order to ensure the best possible outcome and patient care. You may be asked to adjust the dosing or schedule of current vitamins, supplements or prescriptions you’re currently taking, avoid the consumption of alcohol and drugs and abstain from smoking for a certain period of time before and after surgery.
The Immediate Reconstruction Procedure
Immediate reconstruction is an increasingly popular approach to reconstructive breast surgery, and offers a few clear benefits for women faced with breast cancer:
- One surgery and one recovery period rather than several
- Often allows for better cosmetic results
- Minimizes the feeling of loss that can occur after a mastectomy, since no waiting period is required prior to reconstruction
The best candidates for immediate breast reconstruction are women who undergo a more conservative cancer treatment, such as a skin-sparing or nipple-sparing mastectomy. Currently, immediate breast implant reconstruction is the most commonly performed type of reconstructive breast surgery, and is often preferred by breast cancer surgeon and patient alike.
The Delayed Reconstruction Procedure
Some women prefer to wait for reconstruction for personal reasons, or their surgeon may recommend delaying reconstruction until after they’ve healed from their mastectomy or completed additional cancer treatments like radiation. Women who choose a delayed approach to reconstructive breast surgery typically do so for two reasons:
- Delaying reconstruction allows for further cancer treatments without concerns over potentially compromising the cosmetic appearance of a recent reconstructive surgery
- Allows more time to research and consider options for breast reconstruction before making a final decision
The primary concern in delaying reconstruction is that your breast surgeon may face more challenges during the surgery itself, such as the difficulties associated with matured scars or irradiated tissue that could further complicate the reconstruction process.
Recovery & Results
Recovery after breast reconstruction, either immediate or delayed, is experienced differently by every woman. You can expect to rest for the first few days after surgery, plus an additional 10-14 days of abstaining from strenuous physical activity. To avoid complications, it’s important to strictly follow Dr. Meade’s post-surgical instructions.
You should see an immediate change in your breast shape and appearance after reconstruction, with continued improvement over time as swelling dissipates and scars continue to fade. Reconstructive breast surgery can offer beautiful, long-term results whether performed right away after breast cancer surgery, or when you wait until you feel ready.