Reconstruction increases lymphedema risk?

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Question from Kerri: I have had a lumpectomy with some node removal. I am now going to have a double mastectomy with reconstruction using stomach tissue. Will this increase my risk of lymphedema in my arm? And what are the risks of the stomach tissue not working out for new breasts?
Answers - Carolyn Chang That's something you would need to talk to your operating surgeon about. It varies from person to person, and it's not always entirely predictable. Having reconstruction should not directly impact your lymphedema. A pedicle TRAM flap in a healthy non-smoker who's close to her ideal weight is virtually 100%. I will say that, in my opinion, one of the better indications for undergoing a micro-vascular DIEP flap would be a bilateral stomach flap, because when you take rectus muscles you do weaken the abdominal wall.

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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