Breast reconstruction can be done at the time of your mastectomy or at some point afterwards. Reconstruction may be accomplished by the use of a breast implant, your own tissues, or a combination of the two. The breast reconstruction procedure and products that are right for you will vary depending on your desired outcome, personal preferences, and several clinical factors.
Immediate breast reconstruction surgery begins at the time of your mastectomy. After your general surgeon removes your breast tissue, your plastic surgeon will begin reconstructive surgery. When you wake up from surgery, you will either have a breast mound or be in the initial stages of creating a breast mound. There are 2 procedural possibilities if you elect to have immediate reconstruction with an implant: one-stage and two-stage breast reconstruction.
Unlike immediate breast reconstruction, delayed breast reconstruction does not begin at the time of your mastectomy. Delayed breast reconstruction surgery may begin weeks, months, or even years after your mastectomy. Your plastic surgeon will begin reconstructive surgery at whatever time you and your care team decides is best given your unique situation. Two-stage reconstruction is the only procedural option if you elect to have delayed reconstruction surgery because the skin over your chest will have contracted and lost the breast shape in the intervening time.