The question below is answered by Dr. Richard M. Kline, Jr., of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction
I had cancer in my left breast 15 yrs. ago, had the lump taken out, then developed a rather large cyst in the same breast. I had the cyst removed, which left me with only half a breast. I also had 8 weeks of radiation. I wanted a breast implant but the doctor said I couldn’t get one. Since it has been so long, could I now get one? I am 75 but still don’t feel good about my breast. I wear a breast form, but it’s not the same.
It is sometimes possible to reconstruct a lumpectomy defect with an implant, but your history of radiation makes success less likely. To some extent, the size of the implant you would require, and the amount of radiation injury you have sustained, influence the chances for success. Flap surgery, while significantly more involved, is ideal for use in radiated tissues, as it allows us to use healthy, non-radiated tissue to replace what is missing. Age, in and of itself, does not affect the success of either surgery, as long as you are generally healthy.
—Dr. Richard M. Kline, Jr.
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