Delaying Reconstructive Surgery After Mastectomy

Undergoing a mastectomy, a surgical procedure to remove one or both breasts, can be a traumatic experience for women. After this life-altering surgery, many women consider breast reconstruction as an option to restore their physical appearance and regain a sense of wholeness. While immediate breast reconstruction is a popular choice, it is important to consider the benefits of delaying the procedure. We want patients to understand why postponing breast reconstruction after mastectomy can be advantageous for women, allowing them to make informed decisions about their post-mastectomy journey.

Delaying breast reconstruction allows ample time for physical healing and recovery after mastectomy. This period is crucial for the body to heal completely, ensuring optimal results in the long run.  During breast cancer treatment, some patients need multiple procedures including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.  Each procedure takes a tremendous toll on the body both physically and emotionally.  However, allowing the body to recover fully, people can minimize the risk of complications and optimize the success of the reconstruction procedure.

The emotional impact of mastectomy can be significant, as it involves the loss of a part of one’s body and can affect body image, self-esteem, and overall well-being. By postponing breast reconstruction, women can focus on emotional healing and adjustment after the surgery. This allows them to process their feelings, seek support from loved ones or support groups, and develop coping strategies to deal with the emotional challenges that come with breast cancer and mastectomy.

Delaying breast reconstruction provides women with the opportunity to make more informed decisions about the type of reconstruction they want. It allows time to explore various options, such as implants, tissue reconstruction, or a combination of both. Women can consult with Drs. Hall and Wrye, gather information, and evaluate the pros and cons of each method, taking into consideration their individual goals, preferences, and overall health. This ensures that the chosen reconstruction approach aligns with their desired outcome and suits their unique circumstances.

Delaying breast reconstruction gives surgeons a better canvas to work with. By allowing the body to heal and the tissues to settle, our surgeons can achieve more accurate and satisfactory results. Delayed reconstruction allows for a more stable surgical field, reduced risk of complications, and improved symmetry between the reconstructed breast and the unaffected breast. The wait time can also enable better assessment of the final chest shape and size, leading to a more natural and aesthetically pleasing outcome.

While immediate breast reconstruction may seem like the obvious choice after mastectomy, there are several compelling reasons to consider delaying the procedure. Allowing time for physical healing, emotional adjustment, informed decision-making, and optimal surgical outcomes can greatly enhance the overall reconstructive journey. By carefully weighing the benefits and considering individual circumstances, women can make a well-informed choice that best aligns with their needs and desires, leading to possibly better surgical outcomes and reconstruction experience.

The doctors and staff at Hall and Wrye are here to help you through your journey, supply you with options and guide you on the path that best suits your individual needs.