Timeframe for reconstruction?

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Question from Amy: My sister may be facing a double mastectomy. She wants to wait until after chemo and radiation to have reconstructive surgery. Do surgeons have a preferred timeframe for reconstruction after a mastectomy?
Answers - Carolyn Chang Actually, it depends a little bit on the area in which the woman lives on what's available. Ideally, if the cancer is at a relatively earlier stage, then we, as plastic surgeons, would recommend trying to do the reconstruction at the same time as the mastectomy. If the patient is otherwise healthy, that's often the best choice. If that's not available, or if the general surgeon does not think that this is advisable, then she can have the surgery done in a delayed fashion. However, she needs to be aware that once somebody has radiation, it's extremely difficult to use an implant for reconstruction on the radiated side. In other words, the chance of failure of that implant due to infection or hardening of the breast or capsular contracture is very high.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Reconstruction and Safe, Sexy Cosmetics featured Carolyn C. Chang, M.D., Anna-Dee Rinehart, S.C.S., and moderator Lillie Shockney, R.N., B.S., M.A.S. answering your questions about reconstructive surgery and safe, sexy cosmetics.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2005.

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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