We understand that a breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, involving consultations with breast surgeons, oncologists, and primary care physicians.
The array of treatment options can be confusing, but one aspect remains consistent: the desire for optimal care and outcomes.
Understanding Breast Cancer Treatment
Breast cancer treatment often involves a combination of approaches, including breast removal (either partial or total mastectomy), chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy. These treatments can be administered individually or in various combinations, tailored to each patient’s specific condition.
The Role of Breast Reconstruction
Breast surgeons are legally required to refer patients to a plastic surgeon for a discussion about breast reconstruction options.
But where does breast reconstruction fit into the complex timeline of cancer treatment?
Immediate Reconstruction: In many cases, breast reconstruction is performed on the same day as the mastectomy, termed “immediate reconstruction.” Dr. K. Alex Kim and his team frequently recommend this approach, as it often results in superior cosmetic outcomes. However, not all patients are candidates for immediate reconstruction.
Delayed Reconstruction: This option occurs after the completion of all cancer treatments, including mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, and is known as “delayed reconstruction.” It typically takes place about 1-2 years after mastectomy
Considerations for Delayed Reconstruction
Patients with specific health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, a history of smoking, COPD, or obesity, may be at higher risk of complications from immediate reconstruction. Any complications could potentially affect wound healing and, subsequently, the timing of crucial treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. In such cases, delayed reconstruction may be recommended to ensure a patient’s overall health and recovery.
It’s important to note that not everyone with breast cancer is a candidate for reconstruction. Your unique circumstances and medical history must be discussed with a plastic surgeon to determine the best course of action tailored to your needs. This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we emphasize the importance of open communication with your medical team and exploring all available options.
Dr. K. Alex Kim and his team are dedicated to providing compassionate care and helping you make informed decisions regarding breast reconstruction. Thank you for being part of our community, and together, we stand strong in the fight against breast cancer.