Delayed reconstruction (Secondary reconstruction) is when the breast reconstruction is carried out after all the cancer treatment is over. This can be months or even years later. This is generally speaking an option for all patients. Some choose this and for some this is recommended, but there is no time or specific age limit.
- Complications of reconstruction around the time of cancer treatment are avoided. If treatment such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy are required it is key not to delay this more than is necessary.
- Sometimes radiotherapy if required can affect the reconstructed breast (shrinking, firmness and deformity) this can be avoided with delayed reconstruction.
- Any decisions about reconstruction do not have to be made at the time of dealing with cancer diagnosis and treatment.
- The patient will be without a breast until reconstruction is performed
- The cosmetic result may not be as good. This is generally because with immediate reconstruction the skin of the breast is often used to cover the reconstruction giving a more natural result. In a delayed reconstruction which uses your body tissue, skin needs to be added to the breast from another area. This will have a slightly different appearance.