It used to be commonplace for women to wait about a year after their mastectomy before undergoing reconstructive breast augmentation. These days, more Irvine, California breast reconstruction surgeons are offering immediate reconstruction procedures, where mastectomy is followed directly by a second procedure using either breast implants or the patient’s own tissue to reconstruct the look and feel of the natural breast. Even so, many breast reconstruction patients in Irvine still choose to delay reconstruction.
If you are not sure which approach is right for you, you need to talk with your mastectomy surgeon and your plastic surgeon. Research your options so you can assess the emotional and physical pros and cons for yourself. Here are some quick facts to help you get started.
The Big Picture
Women undergo breast reconstruction surgery in Irvine for a variety of reasons. Many women link breast reconstruction with feeling “whole” again after their procedure, and other factors like a better sex life can add extra benefits for many patients after breast reconstruction. Ultimately, choosing breast reconstruction is a very personal decision and each woman needs to decide for herself what is best.
What the Research Tells Us
As more plastic surgeons have begun to offer immediate and combined mastectomy / breast reconstruction procedures, more researchers are comparing the experiences of patients who underwent immediate vs. delayed breast reconstruction. What we know:
- Advantages of Immediate Reconstruction:
In one study, 76% of women who delayed reconstruction said they wished they had undergone their reconstructive procedure immediately, and there are good reasons for this perspective. Immediate reconstruction can cut surgical costs by as much as half and, more importantly, women who have immediate reconstruction tend to experience significantly much less emotional distress over their mastectomy than those who wait. They also tend to benefit most from the typical, positive impact of breast reconstruction on a woman’s self-image, confidence, sexuality, and general happiness.
- Advantages of Waiting:
While studies suggest certain advantages to immediate breast reconstruction, it is not right for everyone. Big-picture factors like your personal life, as well as the type and treatment of your breast cancer, can mean that delayed reconstruction offers more benefits for you personally. Post-mastectomy radiation therapy, for example, can negatively affect the results of certain types of immediate, “flap”-type breast reconstruction procedures. While implant-type reconstruction is still a valid, safe option for most of these women, some will choose to wait a bit before moving ahead with surgery.
Things to Keep in Mind
Breast reconstruction in California is not something a plastic surgeon or family member should decide for you. You need to discuss this decision carefully with your doctors and with the people who matter to you in your daily life. Talk to different surgeons and get in touch with a variety of women who have had this procedure so you can compare the experiences of those who had immediate reconstruction vs. delayed procedures. Most of all, take the time to understand your options clearly and find a surgeon who you feel understands you.
With good preparation and a clear understanding of your options, you will be much better equipped to make healthy, positive decisions that make sense for you medically – and personally.