How long should I wait to get breast reconstruction after receiving radiation?
When I was 43 I found out that I had breast cancer. To treat my cancer, I underwent a mastectomy and radiation therapy. While my primary concern was getting healthy, I was also concerned about how I would look after the mastectomy. I definitely wanted to consider reconstruction surgery after.
When I made my intentions clear, my plastic surgeon told me reconstruction was a possibility. However, I would have to wait until I completed my radiation treatments. The amount of time I would have to wait was determined by the condition of my breast skin after the treatments. I was told that trying to undergo radiation treatments could affect the appearance of my reconstructed breasts.
Typically, reconstructive surgeons will schedule a consultation for 2-3 months after radiation treatments are completed. I decided to wait six months after completing radiation to have my breasts reconstructed. However, I was told that I could schedule my reconstruction for any time in the future.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer and received a mastectomy followed by radiation. I understand what you're experiencing because the number of choices seemed insurmountable. But the most important thing is to decide treatment with your team of radiation oncologists and then discuss the reconstructive care provided by an excellent reconstructive surgeon. Your plastic surgeon should be able to help you determine the type of reconstruction and the best timing. I chose to have immediate reconstruction versus delayed.
My plastic surgeon gave me options based on my desires and goals, as well as my health. Delayed breast reconstruction takes place immediately after radiation or chemotherapy, and I wasn't willing to wait for the six to nine months that I probably would have to wait until after the radiation was complete. From what I understand, the decisions determining delayed reconstruction or immediate are very complicated and individualized. If you are going to wait until after you have the radiation treatment, you should be able to start your reconstruction immediately after you have finished your radiation treatment. Your surgeon will be able to give you a greater understanding of the reconstruction options available. I'm thankful to have overcome cancer and am thrilled with my reconstructive surgery! I wish you all the best and the same outstanding results I was able to achieve.