How Long After Chemotherapy Should I Wait to Get a Breast Reconstruction?

Breast Reconstruction ConnecticutFor Houston breast cancer patients who are also getting a mastectomy, coordinating care can be a frustrating experience that adds to the already wide array of emotions that a breast cancer patient feels. These feelings can be compounded if you’ve decided to get a breast reconstruction, too. With so many different appointments to keep and doctors to speak to, it can be difficult to know what needs to be done next.

Houston breast reconstruction surgeons Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig often find that many of their mastectomy patients are, understandably, particularly concerned with how a breast reconstruction surgery may interfere with chemotherapy treatment. How long do you have to wait to get a breast reconstruction after chemotherapy? Can a breast reconstruction be performed while you are still receiving chemotherapy treatments?

While in prior years most breast cancer care teams preferred for mastectomy patients to wait until they were done with chemotherapy to get a breast reconstruction, today this has changed. New research shows that it is perfectly safe to undergo a breast reconstruction prior to undergoing chemotherapy treatments. In fact, many Houston breast cancer patients report a boost in self-esteem and overall spirits when they have an immediate breast reconstruction, or a breast reconstruction performed at the same time as a mastectomy surgery because they never have to live without the feminine shape that breasts provide.

What Are Your Breast Reconstruction Options?

Breast reconstruction surgery can be performed at the same time as your mastectomy, or weeks, months or years later. There are two ways that breast reconstruction plastic surgeons reconstruct breasts – either using your body’s own tissue or using silicone or saline implants. Many Houston women choose the first option, having their own tissue used to reconstruct breasts, because it provides them with a more natural feeling result.

If you choose to have your breasts reconstructed with your own tissue, which is called flap surgery, Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig will perform one of the following procedures, depending on your body and your unique case: 

This tissue harvesting procedure is conducted by using the fat, tissue and blood vessels from your abdomen to reconstruct your breasts. Many Houston women who have excess abdominal tissue and large natural breasts choose to get a DIEP flap because it allows them to create reconstructed breasts that have the same volume as their natural breasts.

Another flap surgery that relies on harvested lower abdominal fat, the SIEA flap uses the fat, tissue and blood vessels from the lower abdomen. While it is a popular procedure for breast reconstruction, women who have had a tummy tuck are not eligible for a SIEA flap.

  • SGAP Flap

For Houston women who don’t have enough tissue to harvest from their bellies, or women who have had prior tummy tuck surgery, a SGAP may be an option. This procedure uses tissue from your upper buttocks and hips to rebuild your breasts.

  • PAP Flap

Houston women with small to medium sized breasts who don’t have enough abdominal tissue to harvest may be candidates for a PAP flap. This procedure uses your thigh tissue to rebuild your breasts.

For women who choose not to have flap surgery, a breast implant – either silicone or saline – can be placed underneath the breast muscle to reconstruct the breasts.

Learning More About Breast Reconstruction

Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig understand that breast cancer, chemotherapy, mastectomies and breast reconstruction surgeries can raise a lot of questions amongst Houston women.

To help them better understand the process of getting a breast reconstruction, even during chemotherapy treatments, Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig offer Houston breast cancer patients a consultation. To schedule your visit today, call (713) 346-9909.