This week, Richard M. Kline, Jr., MD, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question about breast reconstruction.
Question: I had a double mastectomy in January 2017. Expanders were placed at that time. I had radiation March-May. Postponed reconstruction until June 2018. Are implants still an option?
Answer: Implants may still be an option, but it’s going to depend on several things, probably the most important of which is how much you were expanded prior to radiation. It can be next to impossible to expand skin after it is radiated, although occasionally it seems to work. If you were expanded, and are tolerating the expanders well, then hopefully it would be straightforward to remove the expanders and place permanent implants. In addition to placing permanent implants, fat grafting can often significantly enhance the quality of your reconstruction.
If you end up not getting a reconstruction you like with implants, the good news is that none of what you have been through impacts your chances of getting a quality reconstruction with your own natural tissue. We have successfully reconstructed many, many hundreds of radiated patients with DIEP, sGAP, and other natural tissue flaps.
Hope this helps, please let us know if you would like additional information.
Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask!