This week, James E. Craigie, MD, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.
Question: Do you perform mastectomy and reconstruction at the same time?
Answer: We are often able to perform mastectomy and natural breast reconstruction at the same time, but not always. One thing we do not want to do is radiate a reconstruction done with your own tissue, as this can result in it shriveling up very badly. If there is a significant chance that radiation will be required as part of your breast cancer treatment, then we either defer any reconstruction until later, or put in a temporary tissue expander until radiation is completed.
Some of the reasons that you can require radiation include a larger tumor, or any lymph node involvement. Our breast cancer surgeons are quite good at predicting if radiation will be needed, and we rely on them to tell us if it is safe to do reconstruction at the same time as mastectomy.
Obviously, if you don’t have cancer, but are contemplating mastectomies for risk reduction alone, there should be no chance of needing radiation, and reconstruction can be done at the same time without any worries.
Hope this helps, please let us know if we can be of further assistance.
Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask!