What is the difference between immediate and delayed breast reconstruction?

Last Modified: May 8, 2009

Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

What is the difference between immediate and delayed breast reconstruction?

Answer

Rachel McKenna, MSN, CRNP, Nurse Practitioner in the Division of Plastic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, responds:

Many patients prefer to have reconstruction done (or at least the process started) at the same time as their mastectomy for a number of reasons. If you have breast reconstruction done at the same time as your mastectomy, this is called immediate reconstruction. Delayed reconstruction is the term used if you choose to have the mastectomy done and then wait for reconstruction to be done months, or even years, later. The majority of surgeries done at HUP are immediate reconstruction. With immediate reconstruction, you are decreasing your overall number of surgeries, you may have a better chance at an optimal cosmetic result, and for many women, there is a psychological benefit to immediately pursuing reconstruction.

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