When is the second stage of breast reconstruction performed?

Updated: Jul 29, 2021
  • Author: Mark F Deutsch, MD; Chief Editor: James Neal Long, MD, FACS  more...
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While the initial reconstruction usually is planned at a stressful point in the patient's life, the second stage is quite different. The patient should have completed her adjuvant therapy, and she can focus more on assisting with improving the cosmesis of her new breast. The second stage should be performed once the breast mound has softened and edema has resolved. During this time, the new breast has already undergone some degree of ptosis. All wounds should be well healed with no evidence of infection. Wait at least 6 weeks after the last course of chemotherapy and at least 8 weeks after the last radiation treatment. Advise the patient to avoid tobacco products for 8 weeks prior to surgery. Although the second stage commonly is associated with nipple reconstruction, the nipple should only be placed once the breast shape is optimal.

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