A recent study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal shows a low rate of complications in breast reconstruction immediately after mastectomy.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the results shown in this study “alleviate concerns that immediate reconstruction leads to increased complications” and make a strong argument for immediate breast reconstruction,
Reduced psychological trauma is one of the commonly cited benefits of immediate breast reconstruction, as the patient can go in for mastectomy and come out of surgery with the breast intact. Other benefits include decreased cost and shorter recovery time.
The 10-year study was based on the results of 170 women who had undergone breast reconstruction immediately after mastectomy. 13 of the patients had even undergone bilateral reconstruction to reconstruct both breasts. Surgeons primarily used a TRAM flap technique to compelte the surgery.
To determine if immediate reconstruction was justified, researchers analyzed the following outcomes:
- complication rates
- timing of other cancer treatments
- aesthetic appearance
They found a complication rate of 8.8 percent, which led to delays in further cancer treatments (chemotherapy/radiation) in eight patients. While fifteen patients experienced recurrence of the breast cancer, immediate reconstruction did not delay recognition of these recurrences.
Authors of the study say they hope these results will reassure breast cancer patients and plastic surgeons of the safety and efficacy of immediate breast reconstruction. They argue that it offers a safe and beneficial alternative to delayed breast reconstruction, which can involve waiting weeks or months for surgery.