Last edited 06/2023 and last reviewed 06/2023

One of the key questions in relation to breast reconstruction for carcinoma, is whether reconstruction should be carried out at the definitive surgical operation or whether it should be delayed.

The advantages of early surgery are:

  • theoretically, only one surgical procedure may be required
  • some women will not have the psychological morbidity of a change in body image

The disadvantages of early surgery are:

  • for the best cosmetic result, many surgical procedures may be required
  • attempts at an aesthetic reconstruction at the original operation may detract from the primary aim of successful tumour clearance
  • reconstruction may hinder the detection of early recurrence
  • there may be adjuvant radiotherapy or chemotherapy to endure after surgery; some women prefer to wait until all treatments have been completed

Breast reconstruction may be delayed 1-2 years depending on the surgeon and patient's preferences.