How Long After Chemotherapy Until You Can Put in the Permanent Implants?

How long after chemo generally can you swap out the expanders for permanent implants? To give you more detail. I had a double mastectomy in April and am currently undergoing chemotherapy. I have 4 rounds of Adriamycin and Cytoxin every other week and then 4 rounds of Taxol every other week. I am due to finish chemo in mid-September. I know the swap cannot happen right away - generally speaking when would be the earliest? Also, do you know when I can have the port removed that I had implanted to aid with the administration of the chemo?

Doctor Answers 6

Timing for Implant Exchange after Chemotherapy

It is important to have your oncologist give you the green light to proceed.  Your oncologist will tell you if your cell counts have normalized (ie healing potential).    Generally, it has been my experience that waiting > 4-6 weeks after chemotherapy is ideal.  However, every patient is different.   In addition, wrpt your portacath removal...again, you need to get the green light from your oncologist as well. 

You are almost there to the finish line with chemotherapy.   hang in there.

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 211 reviews

Chemotherapy and implant placement

The problem with chemotherapy is that it can delay wound healing. Intervals between cycles can be used to time surgery. Usually you can do this at the 3 week point if you are on 6 week cycles. If not you may want to wait until you are done with chemo.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Surgery should wait until your white blood cells have recovered

Following chemotherapy you will need to have time for your white blood cells to return to normal, this will take several weeks to months.  You also should feel well and strong before doing the surgery.  The swap is not too strenuous but you want to be in good medical condition to avoid complications.  The same is also true for the removal of the chemo port.  You chemo doctor will be able to give you a better idea on how soon your blood cells will return.

Best Wishes.

Marcus L. Peterson, MD
Saint George Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

How long after chemotherapy until you can put in the permanent implants?

Hello!  Thank you for your question!  Typically after completion of chemotherapy, there is a waiting period of at least 4 weeks in order to allow your body to recover after the chemotherapy.  This increases your immune system and will significantly decrease your complication rate such as wound healing issues, infections, etc.  Having your tissue expanders in for a longer period will not harm you nor affect your overall results.  It is fine to keep them in until you are ready to proceed.  In terms of your port, discuss the need with your oncologist.  If it is no longer needed, your plastic surgeon may be able to remove at the time of your second stage procedure for implants, if s/he is willing and able.  Best wishes for a wonderful result!  

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Permanent Implants after Chemotherapy: Waiting Period

Remember: every patient is different, so don't take this as a precise prescription for your situation. In general, we exchange the tissue expander for permanent implants between 3 to 6 months after the completion of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Your plastic surgeon can evaluate the quality of the skin to determine the right timing for your body.

After chemotherapy, both your blood counts and your body's ability to fight infection may be affected. For that reason, we recommend a few months between the last dose of chemotherapy and implant exchange. Discuss the port with your medical oncologist. Some do not want the port removed until at least a year following diagnosis and treatment. Although removing the port at the time of implant exchange can technically be done, it is not always recommended.

James N. Romanelli, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Wait after chemotherapy til placements of implants

Really based upon your blood counts (WBC) and the decision of the PS and Oncologist. In most instances the wait is 6 weeks to 3 months.

Best of Luck from MIAMI Dr. B

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.