Occasionally, patients undergo mastectomy and then follow with radiation therapy. When these patients undergo breast reconstruction, we use the term delayed breast reconstruction. The term delayed reconstruction is utilized to characterize a reconstruction that occurs after a mastectomy and other treatments versus an immediate reconstruction that occurs in whole or in part simultaneously with the mastectomy.
When the skin that remains following a mastectomy has been radiated, reconstruction with autologous tissue becomes a realistic option. In the delayed reconstruction, the internal mammary vessels are still a viable option for recipient vessels and other options for additional venous outflow such as the cephalic vein can be utilized.
The photograph depicts a left unilateral reconstruction utilizing an abdominal based flap. The right breast underwent mastopexy or breast lift for symmetry.