Breast Reconstruction Timing Immediate vs Delayed

Breast Reconstruction Timing – Breast reconstruction is generally the surgical procedure following the removal of cancerous tissue following a mastectomy. Let’s take a quick look at the advantages or disadvantages for either method.

Immediate Reconstruction:

This approach, as you can surmise is immediately following the completion, or in tandem with a mastectomy. Here are the advantages and disadvantages to consider.


  • Avoids additional operation and general anesthesia at a later date.
  • Reconstruction is easier because scarring has not damaged the tissues, and the breast skin retains the size and shape of the original breast.

Delayed reconstruction:


  • More time to think about alternatives.
  • After a mastectomy, many women choose a procedure recommended by their plastic surgeon and are more confident about the selection of the type of reconstruction.
  • These patients have no risk complications of the healing of the incision site resulting from the reconstruction, which could ultimately delay the beginning of chemotherapy.

In contemplating immediate reconstruction, the woman will be making a decision usually under great stress, as she will be dealing with the very trying event of losing one—or both—breast(s). Interestingly enough, for some women, the idea of having their breast tissue immediately reconstructed can relieve much of this stress. Women that postpone reconstruction may also go through two, separate periods of emotional readjustment:

1) Having lost their first, natural breast, and

2) coming to terms and acceptance of the reconstructed breast as her own.

Unfortunately, one cannot predict what her reaction will be until in the moment; in which case, it might be a good idea to seek some sort of counseling from either a professional or support group.