Progress on reconstruction with implant on radiation site?


Question from MHeube: Has there been any progress on doing reconstruction using an implant on radiated chest wall site of a mastectomy? I had a mastectomy followed by radiation to the site 5 years ago. Would love to do reconstruction, but would rather do an implant than much more complicated DIEP or flap surgery.
Answers - Marisa Weiss After radiation following mastectomy, the tissue where the breast used to be can develop scar tissue and become stiffer than tissue if radiation were not given. Therefore, it's more difficult to stretch out stiff tissue. Most plastic surgeons prefer to use tissue reconstruction after radiation in order to bring in fresh tissue that is without scar tissue and which has a full blood supply. If you are not a candidate for tissue reconstruction, an experienced breast reconstruction surgeon can usually accomplish reconstruction using a tissue expander followed by an implant with some extra techniques. A product that many plastic surgeons like to use is called AlloDerm. This can be sewn in to enlarge the pouch that will eventually accommodate an implant. Some doctors like to use a latissimus dorsi flap from the edge of the back, together with an implant. Again, this brings in fresh tissue that is softer and more stretchy, along with a fresh blood supply. It is particularly important to go to a plastic surgeon who is very experienced in breast reconstruction if you have had prior radiation.

On Wednesday, December 15, 2010, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Updates from the 2010 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Eric Winer, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about the latest updates on breast cancer risk, screening, and treatment in early and metastatic breast cancer.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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