Am I too old for reconstruction using my own tissue?

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ktfelder asked:

I had a lumpectomy and radiation 2+ years ago. My skin did great during the radiation — no burns, just a bit of redness — and no chemo. I recently discovered that for genetic reasons I should have a prophylactic mastectomy. I have read up on implants and am clear that I don't want them. I live in a major city where they do both DIEP and SIEP. I want SIEP if I can have it. I have plenty of belly fat to use so no issues there. My breast surgeon has retired so I looked for recommendations for a plastic surgeon as I consider their work the most important since I don't currently have BC. The first office I called the nurse was very negative because I am 60 years old. It never occurred to me that I wouldn't qualify for a tram flap due to my age. I am healthy but sedentary. I do take blood pressure and cholesterol medication, but they keep things under control. The concern is apparently because it is a long surgery. Am I too old for this procedure?

Answer:

We do not have a specific age cutoff for surgery. We prefer to evaluate each patient independently, and determine if breast reconstruction is a safe option based on their overall health. We have performed breast reconstruction on patients well into their 70s safely and with excellent outcomes. Prior to surgery, each patient’s medical history is discussed amongst our team of well-trained nurses, surgeons, and anesthesiologist. If any concerns arise, we may ask the patient to see their medical physician prior to surgery to address these concerns in order to make the surgery as safe as possible.

— Craig Blum, M.D., F.A.C.S.


Craig Blum

Craig Blum, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Dr. Blum is part of the reconstruction team at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery in New Orleans, Louisiana. Learn more about Dr. Blum.


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