Reconstruction safe right after mastectomy
Immediate breast reconstruction after mastectomy has a low risk of complications and does not cause unreasonable delays in breast cancer treatment.
Mastectomy is partial or complete surgical removal of one or both breasts for breast cancer. For women undergoing mastectomy for breast cancer, immediate breast reconstruction offers several advantages over delayed reconstruction, including improved cosmetic outcomes, shorter recovery time, and decreased costs. Immediate reconstruction is also an important coping mechanism associated with improved quality of life and a reduced risk of depression. Yet there's continued debate over its use, with some surgeons fearing immediate reconstruction will increase the risk of complications or delay further cancer treatments.
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.
It was found that 15 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 only eight women, with a maximum delay of three weeks. 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 above findings suggest that immediate reconstruction is safe and well tolerated by patients, and does not lead to an increased risk of complications. Delays in further treatment appear comparable to those of women undergoing mastectomy alone. The study results make a strong argument for immediate reconstruction regardless of cancer stage.
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