Los Angeles — Immediate breast reconstruction following mastectomy has a low risk of complications and does not unduly delay cancer treatment, a new study finds.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center evaluated outcomes over a 10-year period for women with advanced cancer who underwent immediate reconstruction, Medical News Today reports. The procedure was performed on 170 women, including 13 patients who had reconstruction of both breasts. Surgeons primarily used tissues from the abdominal area.
A total of 15 major complications (8.8 percent) were reported. Complications led to delays in further cancer treatments in only eight women, with a maximum delay of three weeks. Fifteen women had recurring breast cancer during follow-up, and investigators found that immediate reconstruction did not cause delays in recognizing the recurrences.
Long-term follow-up of 69 women undergoing radiation therapy found a 30 percent rate of minor flap shrinkage. Only about 10 percent of women had severe breast distortion.
"Importantly, the overall cosmetic outcome in patients who received postoperative radiation was comparable to those who did not," the authors wrote.
The study was reported in the July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.