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Immediate vs Delayed Breast Reconstruction


Posted July 27, 2020 in Breast Reconstruction | 3 minute read

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Immediate vs Delayed Breast Reconstruction

During the COVID-19 pandemic in Houston, TX and around the world, many women are finding their breast cancer surgery being placed in limbo. A breast cancer diagnosis brings enough to worry about! Throwing a pandemic into the mix and asking women to make new decisions about their treatment plan adds a new level of stress and complexity to their journey. At Ellsworth Plastic Surgery, we understand how stressful this can be and wanted to take some time to talk through the pros and cons of immediate vs delayed breast reconstruction.

Immediate Reconstruction with mastectomy

Advantages of an immediate breast reconstruction:

  • Reducing the impact of emotional changes that come with mastectomy
  • Improved cosmetic results
  • Less surgeries and time under general anesthesia

Disadvantages of an immediate breast reconstruction:

  • Longer initial surgery (because it’s two surgeries in one)
  • Your hospital stay and recovery time can be slightly longer in comparison to having just a mastectomy performed.

In Houston, TX the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many orders regarding non-urgent medical procedures that can be confusing. To date, the most current order, GA-27 states that elective (meaning non-urgent) procedures can continue if the hospital has the resources and capacity to care for patients effected by COVID. This means that it is still possible for patients to have immediate breast reconstruction. For this to occur, Dr. Ellsworth coordinates the timing with your breast surgeon to ensure that both procedures can be performed at the same time.

Delayed Reconstruction after mastectomy

There are many reasons why a delayed breast reconstruction may be chosen as a best course of treatment. Dr. Ellsworth and his staff often work hand in hand with other specialties like medical oncology or radiation oncology, communicating directly and frequently with these offices to determine whether it is advisable for a patient to undergo delayed reconstruction.

Advantages of a delayed breast reconstruction:

  • Slightly faster surgical time and recovery time
  • Allows a patient more time to consider all their breast reconstruction options including researching techniques and plastic surgeons.

Disadvantages of delayed breast reconstruction:

  • The patient will have a visible scar from their mastectomy and the absence of their breast can cause additional emotional strain
  • The patient will need more surgeries, anesthesia, and recovery time
  • The mastectomy scars can sometimes make it more difficult to reconstruct the breast resulting in diminished cosmetic outcomes.

When it comes to breast reconstruction, this is a very personal decision for every woman. Each person should take as much time as they need to choose the option that is best for them. To learn more about your breast reconstruction options available with Dr. Ellsworth, visit our procedures page or call our office at 832-522-8400.

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