Breast reconstruction can be performed immediately after mastectomy or as a delayed procedure. When the circumstances permit, immediate breast reconstruction has several advantages over delayed reconstruction.
- There’s one less surgical procedure requiring anesthesia.
- The tissue is supple, allowing for a potentially better cosmetic result.
- Because the patient goes to sleep with a breast and subsequently wakes up with one (or the beginning of one) present, psychological trauma may be reduced.
- One recovery period allows the patient to heal from two procedures (mastectomy and reconstruction).
Delayed reconstruction is sometimes necessary. In some cases, patients know they will need postoperative radiation. In other cases, the patient is indecisive about breast reconstruction and decides to take time to consider it.
When possible, immediate breast reconstruction is preferred for the reasons I have mentioned above.