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What is delayed breast reconstruction for breast cancer patients?

Heather L. Karu, MD
Plastic Surgery
If a woman doesn't have breast reconstruction at the time of her cancer treatment, she can still have it later. In this video, Dr. Heather Karu talks about why a woman may have delayed reconstruction and the options that can work best.
Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
There are several reasons to delay the reconstruction of the breast after a mastectomy. Patients that may be treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy may delay the reconstruction with a tissue expander/implant or autologous tissue transfer to reduce incidence of wound infections and avascular necrosis of the tissue. Radiation to the chest with a prosthetic device has a significant incidence of capsular contracture (scar tissue formation). There are also psychological decisions to wait on the reconstruction until the healing has occurred from the mastectomy. 
Delayed breast reconstruction is when reconstruction is performed after the patient has completed all of her breast cancer treatment. For example, if you had a mastectomy and then had chemotherapy followed by radiation, the delayed reconstruction would occur after the radiation.
Ajay K. Sahajpal, MD
Transplant Surgery
Delayed breast reconstruction is reconstruction of the breast that occurs after the breast surgery.  Timing of breast reconstruction is dependent on the medical situation and your personal preference.
Delayed breast reconstruction is recreation of the breast mound at a separate date than the mastectomy.  Immediate reconstruction refers to recreation of the breast mound at the time of mastectomy. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.