Reconstruction possible with radiation scarring?

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Question from Carole: I had breast cancer in 1989, followed by lumpectomy and radiation. Got it again last year, had double mastectomy and chemo. My doctor said I'm not a good candidate for reconstruction because of the hard scar tissue on the left side that was radiated in 1989. Is that true?
Answers - Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. Generally, radiation changes and blood supply to the tissue and skin improves over time so that, more than 2 or 3 years out from radiation, many plastic surgeons are comfortable offering some types of reconstruction. This can vary from woman to woman, as some women develop very dense scar tissue that make reconstruction more challenging, with a higher risk of complications. I would encourage you to actually see a plastic surgeon and talk about reconstruction options because the plastic surgeon would have the insight to know what sort of reconstruction may be available to you.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called After Surgery: Short-Term and Long-Term Effects featured Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. and Linda Miller, P.T. answering your questions about short-term and long-term side effects of breast surgery, and what you can do about them.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in May 2008.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of 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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