When can my doctor perform breast reconstructive surgery?

Dr. Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgeon

Breast reconstructive surgery can be performed in 3 stages:

  1. It can be performed concurrently or simultaneous to the mastectomy. Women who have had mastectomy surgery may undergo breast reconstruction at that time.
  2. It can be a staged procedure in which the mastectomy is first performed and several months later the patient can undergo breast reconstruction with the use of silicone implant, implant with autologous tissue such as latissimus dorsi back muscle or TRAM flap muscle brought from the stomach up, or a free flap reconstruction with a microvascular transplantation of tissue.
  3. The reconstruction can be delayed. This can include using tissue expanders expanding the pocket and then replacing the expander with a larger silicone implant and/or flap coverage, if necessary.

The initial two options are immediate breast reconstruction or delayed breast reconstruction surgery. The typical breast reconstruction pathway in the United States entails two surgeries with a reconstructive surgeon. When a reconstructive surgeon partners with a breast surgeon, they’re often able to do a mastectomy and begin reconstruction in the same surgery.

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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.