Reconstructive Surgery

Immediate Breast Reconstruction

(Primary Breast Reconstruction)


For many women the diagnosis of breast cancer is made worse by the prospect of losing their breast(s). Many women therefore chose immediate reconstruction of their breast at the same time as the mastectomy. Its main advantage is that a patient only has to undergo one operation, one recovery time and one period away from family and work. It also avoids the experience of living with only one or no breasts. Immediate breast reconstruction has proven psychological and emotional benefits although not all women are candidates for it. Although it has become increasingly popular to reconstruct the breast at the same time as the mastectomy, thereby preventing a period of complete absence of the breast, the advantages and disadvantages of immediate reconstruction in your particular situation should be discussed with both your oncological breast surgeon and with Professor Malata, your reconstructive plastic surgeon.

Breast reconstruction techniques include the use of your own tissues (autologous breast reconstruction), artificial materials (expanders and implants) or a combination thereof. The specific choice depends on your personal preference, body shape and available tissue, the appearance of the opposite breast and your general health and lifestyle. It is also heavily influenced by what other treatment you need for your breast cancer especially radiotherapy. For specific techniques see the “Methods of Breast Reconstruction” section.

As in any plastic surgery, there are benefits, risks and the final results are not guaranteed: The realistic goal of breast reconstruction is to give the patient the opportunity to regain a breast of size and shape resembling their own. It is not the perfect replacement of the breast. Nipple reconstruction is performed as a local anaesthetic procedure 3 – 6 months after the breast reconstruction.


Advantages of immediate breast reconstruction

  • less psychological morbidity

  • single operation, single GA

  • single hospitalization

  • single recovery period

  • better cosmetic results: easier

  • recipient vessels for microsurgery already exposed during axillary clearance


Disadvantages of immediate breast reconstruction

  • lengthy surgery

  • logistic difficulties

  • radiation of prostheses

  • perceived increase in infection (unproven)

  • potential masking of recurrence (not borne out by experience)

  • delay of adjuvant chemotherapy or radiotherapy - possible


To view the before and after photos of surgery as shown in some of Professor Malata’s publications on immediate breast reconstruction please click below