Breast reconstruction surgery is a difficult surgery for many cancer survivors to wrap their heads around. Aside from the outcomes of the surgery, deciding whether to have an immediate or delayed procedure is one of the hardest parts involved in the process. It’s important that before you make a decision you speak at length with your breast reconstruction surgeon to figure out the right option for you.
What is immediate breast reconstruction?
For example, an immediate breast reconstruction in Sydney or another city is performed when a patient decides to have their breast cancer surgery and reconstruction completed at the same time. There are many reasons someone might choose to do this, however, one of the strongest deciding factors is that research shows that immediate reconstructions often lead to patients being able to accept their new normal more easily.
This is because the emotional and physical strain of losing their breast is mitigated by the fact that they are able to wake up from their mastectomy with a breast shape still in place. While many will still grieve the loss of their breast/s, which is a totally normal response, not having to experience a period without some kind of breast shape helps many people to recover faster from the trauma.
Other benefits include that the patient will only need to undergo one operation. The recovery time for the double surgery is longer, however, it’s still a much better option for some people to be able to get it over with in one fell swoop. It’s also helpful in terms of keeping the breast looking natural as mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgeons can work together on a plan to preserve the skin, nipple, and areola.
However, it’s also important to remember that not all breast reconstruction outcomes and recovery processes are the same. For example, if a patient is getting a procedure that utilizes tissue expanders then they may initially have a flat chest after the operation.
What is delayed breast reconstruction?
For some patients, particularly in the public sector, it might not be possible to organize a breast reconstruction surgeon to coordinate with the hospital and another surgeon to complete the procedure at the same time as the mastectomy due to long waiting lists and other factors. For instance, some patients may be told they should wait to have their breast reconstruction at a later date due to the type of treatment they’re receiving and how it might impact the outcomes of immediate breast reconstruction.
However, a delayed reconstruction can easily occur months or even years after a mastectomy is performed. One of the benefits of delayed reconstruction is that the overall recovery time will be much shorter than if you have both surgeries done at the same time. While waiting to have their breast reconstruction surgery, many patients also find it helpful to wear a prosthesis to improve their self-confidence and feel more comfortable with themselves in certain situations.