Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Breast reconstruction in irradiated patients

Many women following mastectomy will receive adjuvant radiation therapy. 

A recent study by Dr. Steve Kronowitz from MD Anderson in
Houston appeared in the October issue of “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery”.  

Generally, it was found using a patient's own tissue (autologous) for reconstruction gave better results. 

Implants, however, may be the only choice available.  In one study, they found a complication rate of 45% for women receiving implants WITH radiation compared to 24% in women with NO radiation.  Complications were more common when the patient received radiation BEFORE rather than after reconstruction.  

Basically, radiation therapy affects the skin, which ultimately compromises the reconstruction.  It is also important for me to remember, as a cosmetic surgeon, disease control / eradication is ALWAYS my primary goal.

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