Weighing implant exchange risks?

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Question from MargaretB: I had latissimus dorsi reconstruction almost 3 years ago and the implant has become encapsulated. My surgeon said that it will need to be replaced at some stage, but it's my decision when. I had a lot of complications after my original surgery -- skin necrosis, which took 2 years to heal. Should I have the surgery and risk problems again, just as life is getting back to normal?
Answers - Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. One issue with thick capsule or scar tissue formation around the implant is that it can create tightness across the chest and chronic pain or discomfort. Some of your decision may be based on your symptoms and how tolerable they are. Each woman is different, and while some form very little capsule around the implant, some form thick capsule that tends to form again even with revision or replacement of the implant. There are some techniques that may help minimize capsulation, including the type of implant selected, massage of the implant post-operatively, and stretching techniques.

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 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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