Some women decide to have the breast rebuilt, or reconstructed, during the same operation that removes the breast. This is called “immediate reconstruction.” Other women may wait months or years to have a breast reconstructed.
There are many ways to reconstruct a breast. Different techniques include inserting an implant, inserting tissue from another part of your body, or using a combination.
One advantage of immediate reconstruction is that you don’t have to wake up from surgery and experience the emotional impact of having an empty space where the breast used to be. For some women, however, making decisions about immediate reconstruction is too overwhelming with all the other decisions they have to make.
Regardless of whether you are thinking about having immediate or later breast reconstruction, it’s important to plan reconstruction at a time that works well for you. For instance, healing from reconstruction surgery can sometimes cause delays for women who need prompt chemotherapy. Many surgeons also believe that radiation to a reconstructed breast can compromise the appearance and feeling of the reconstruction. Therefore, in most cases, breast reconstruction should wait until both chemotherapy and radiation are completed.
Learn more about what to expect with different types of reconstruction by visiting the Breastcancer.org Breast Reconstruction section.