Breast Cancer Reconstruction and Radiation Therapy

Promising studies have emerged showing that patients who have undergone radiation therapy can benefit greatly from a new technique consisting of fat injection followed by implant placement as an alternative for traditional breast reconstruction. According to the study that was published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery authors of a new study reported that fat grafting appears to reduce the radiation induced complications that occur commonly with breast implants following reconstruction. Upon further study it is believed this technique will offer women who have undergone radiation therapy an effective reconstructive alternative. Fat grafting was used to achieve better results with implant-based breast reconstruction following surgery and radiation therapy for the treatment of breast cancer. There’s an increased risk of complications for women who have undergone radiation therapy and traditionally they are not considered for reconstruction using implants. Over a three-year period of time researchers performed the combination technique in 16 patients who had surgery following radiation therapy for breast cancer. 11 had mastectomies and five had lumpectomy or other types of breast conserving surgery. Reconstruction was performed 3 to 6 months following the completion of radiation therapy. The intent was to provide a ”bed” of healthy tissue within the chest wall to be able to receive the implant. Each of the patients received two or three fat grafts. The final reconstruction, which included implant placement, was performed once the area showed no signs of radiation toxicity. The results of the staged reconstruction were extremely positive. Upon the final appearance of the reconstructed breast the rating was excellent to good with 94% of the patients. Patient satisfaction rates ranged from high to very high. With an average of 15 months of follow-up no complications were reported. All of the patients had healthy healing tissues surrounding the implant. Radiation therapy is critical for many breast cancer patients to reduce the chance of recurrence and increase the rate of survival. However the toxic effects of radiation reduce breast reconstruction options for patients who have undergone radiation therapy. Dr. Seify is involved in new state-of-the-art methods and techniques including fat grafting for breast reconstruction. As an experienced and well-respected ASPS board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Seify participates in clinical trials helping to improve the available options for breast cancer patients. Patients who are diagnosed with breast cancer and considering their breast reconstruction options are encouraged to contact Dr. Seify and schedule a consultation.

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