Patient-centred decision making in breast reconstruction utilising the delayed-immediate algorithm

Ryan P. Ter Louw, Ketan M. Patel, Michael Sosin, Jason M. Weissler, Maurice Y. Nahabedian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Delayed-immediate reconstruction is an increasingly valuable algorithm for patients anticipating post-mastectomy radiation therapy. Despite the cosmetic and long-term advantages of autologous tissue repair, a subset of patients choose implant-based reconstruction after their initial preference for autologous reconstruction. A critical evaluation of patients who initially planned to undergo delayed-immediate reconstruction but later chose to continue with implant-based reconstruction has not been previously reported. A retrospective analysis of the senior author's (M.Y.N.) patients who initially intended to undergo delayed-immediate autologous breast reconstruction following mastectomy and chose to abandon autologous reconstruction in favour of prosthetic reconstruction was completed from 2005 to 2011. Seven patients (10 breasts) met inclusion criteria. The mean patient age and body mass index were 50.2 years and 32.1 kg m-2, respectively. Expansion required an average of 4.4 office visits to achieve adequate expansion volume, mean 483 ml (240-600 ml). The mean time from expander placement to definitive reconstruction was 14.6 months. Mean follow-up time was 20.4 months. Complications included infection (1/7), incisional dehiscence (1/7) and capsular contracture (2/7), and late revision surgery was performed in two patients. Successful reconstruction was achieved in 100% of patients (7/7) with a patient-reported satisfaction of 100%. Patient motivations for changing the reconstructive algorithm included a faster post-operative recovery in four patients (4/7) and potential donor-site morbidity in three patients (3/7). Depression or cancer-related fatigue symptoms were self-reported in 4/7. Avoiding donor-site morbidity and a simpler recovery are the main factors that influence patients to change their desire for autologous reconstruction to an implant-based reconstruction. Cancer-related fatigue and depression are prevalent in this population and may be implicated in a patient's desire to undergo less extensive reconstructive surgery. Allowing for the choice of definitive implant-based reconstruction in select patients is safe and is likely to result in high patient satisfaction with satisfactory aesthetic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-482
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Cancer-related fatigue
  • Delayed-immediate breast reconstruction
  • Patient-centred outcomes
  • Post-mastectomy radiation therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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