If you choose to have breast reconstruction, it could be done during your mastectomy. Depending upon the stage of your cancer, medical conditions, treatment and general preference, you may also have surgery later.
There is a lot to consider with breast reconstruction. While there are many advantages, it’s not for everyone. Let us help you explore your options and talk you through any questions you may have. Our caring team of experts is here to help with treatment options customized to your needs.
Both types of breast reconstruction are major surgery and will require a hospital stay. For the first few weeks following surgery, most women experience bruising, swelling and some pain. Within one to two months, you should be able to resume normal activities. However, it may take up to several years for your complete recovery.
Immediate breast reconstruction takes place at the same time as mastectomy surgery. As soon as the breast is removed, doctors reconstruct the breast using tissue, an implant or both during the same surgery. If you’re having prophylactic mastectomy to reduce your risk of breast cancer, reconstruction is commonly done immediately.
Recovery time with immediate breast reconstruction may be longer or more difficult than breast cancer surgery alone. In general, the procedure requires a four- to eight-week recovery period before returning to work or normal activities, and this depends on the type of reconstruction performed.
You may need or choose to wait until after breast cancer surgery before starting breast reconstruction. After breast cancer surgery to remove your breast and surrounding tissue, your doctor will close the incision. Your breast will be flat with a scar running horizontally. During delayed breast reconstruction, the original scar is opened and doctors use an implant and/or tissue and skin from other parts of your body to form a breast.
With delayed reconstruction, your recovery time and experience will be like your cancer surgery. The procedure requires a hospital stay and a four- to six-week recovery period before returning to work or normal activities.