Things to think about if you’re considering breast reconstruction
When to have the surgery
- Immediate reconstruction: You might be able to have your reconstruction at the time of your breast cancer surgery, if you’re ready to make a decision early on. In some cases, immediate reconstruction can give a slightly better cosmetic result. Ask your surgeon about this.
- Delayed reconstruction: You may not feel ready to think about reconstruction until months or years later, or for medical reasons, you might be advised to wait.
You may need to have more treatment after your surgery. For example, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. You may prefer to wait until you have finished all your treatment, or your surgeon may advise you that it’s best to do this.
Other treatments may affect the best type of reconstruction for you or when you have reconstruction. For example, there’s a risk that radiotherapy could shrink or harden the tissue used to make your new breast. It could also affect the overall result of your breast reconstruction. However, certain forms of breast reconstruction tolerate radiotherapy better than others.
Type of reconstruction
There are different ways of doing breast reconstruction. For example, having breast implants or reconstruction using a flap of your own tissue. You may have a choice, or there may only be one type of surgery that can be recommended.
Your general health
Your general health can affect your risk of complications after surgery. For example:
- Your age
- Fitness for surgery
- Other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
- Smoking is also a big factor. It has a negative effect on your blood circulation and how your wounds heal.
If you are considering breast reconstruction, it is strongly advised that you quit smoking. We have more information on possible complications after breast reconstruction surgery.
Personal preferences and issues
- Your body shape
- Being underweight or overweight
- Having stretch marks or surgical scars on your body
- Feelings about having more surgery
For more information
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