Reconstruction Safe Right After Mastectomy: Study

Procedure doesn't unduly delay further cancer treatment, research finds

FRIDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- Immediate breast reconstruction after mastectomy has a low risk of complications and does not cause unreasonable delays in breast cancer treatment, according to a new study.

Mastectomy is partial or complete surgical removal of one or both breasts.

Researchers looked at 170 women with advanced breast cancer who had immediate breast reconstruction after mastectomy, including 13 women who had reconstruction of both breasts. The reconstructions were mainly done with tissue from the abdominal area, known as TRAM flaps.

Fifteen major complications, a rate of 8.8 percent, occurred among the women. These complications caused delays in further cancer treatments involving chemotherapy and/or radiation in eight women, with a maximum delay of three weeks, the researchers said.

Recurrent breast cancer was diagnosed in 15 of the women during follow-up, and immediate breast reconstruction did not cause any delays in identifying these recurrences.

The study appears in the July issue of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

"These findings make a strong argument for immediate reconstruction regardless of cancer stage," wrote Dr. Christopher A. Crisera, University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center, and colleagues in a journal news release.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about breast reconstruction.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, news release, June 27, 2011

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