15 doctors weighed in:

Does radiation therapy affect having breast surgery? I would love to undergo breast reconstruction after my therapy, is that possible?

15 doctors weighed in
Dr. Oren Lerman
Surgery - Plastics
4 doctors agree

In brief: You should be able

Most women are candidates for breast reconstruction.
In many women who require radiation therapy to treat their breast cancer we often delay their breast reconstruction about 6-12 months after radiation. At that time there are numerous options that are available. Usually using your own tissue is preferable. Ask your plastic surgeon.

In brief: You should be able

Most women are candidates for breast reconstruction.
In many women who require radiation therapy to treat their breast cancer we often delay their breast reconstruction about 6-12 months after radiation. At that time there are numerous options that are available. Usually using your own tissue is preferable. Ask your plastic surgeon.
Dr. Oren Lerman
Dr. Oren Lerman
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Dr. Robert Whitfield
Surgery - Plastics
4 doctors agree

In brief: Breast cancer

Breast reconstruction after radiation in my practice is most commonly performed with a flap like a diep, tug, sgap.
The reason is that skin must be added back. If you don't have a flap a tissue expander must be place to help re establish the pocket that existed when the mastectomy was first done. Tissue expander and subsequent implant placement have higher failure rates when XRT has been done.

In brief: Breast cancer

Breast reconstruction after radiation in my practice is most commonly performed with a flap like a diep, tug, sgap.
The reason is that skin must be added back. If you don't have a flap a tissue expander must be place to help re establish the pocket that existed when the mastectomy was first done. Tissue expander and subsequent implant placement have higher failure rates when XRT has been done.
Dr. Robert Whitfield
Dr. Robert Whitfield
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1 comment
Dr. Andrew Turrisi
Balancing breast cancer recurrence and desire for normalcy as quickly as possible involves clear delineation of risk, and working together without blame and recrimination. Lots of room to define "best" from the good practices we engage today
Dr. Harold Rosenfeld
Surgery - Plastics
3 doctors agree

In brief: Yes

It is a common procedure.
Your plastic surgeon will describe the available options.

In brief: Yes

It is a common procedure.
Your plastic surgeon will describe the available options.
Dr. Harold Rosenfeld
Dr. Harold Rosenfeld
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Dr. Chad Levitt
Radiation Oncology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Very common

While the best cosmetic results from plastic reconstructive surgery and radiation therapy to the breast or chest wall work against one another this is a very common scenario that is fairly well understood and managed.
Xrt is aimed at minimizing risk of cancer coming back. Plastic surgeon and rad onc will explain time table of the two. Basically implants or flaps must wait for 4 months after xrt.

In brief: Very common

While the best cosmetic results from plastic reconstructive surgery and radiation therapy to the breast or chest wall work against one another this is a very common scenario that is fairly well understood and managed.
Xrt is aimed at minimizing risk of cancer coming back. Plastic surgeon and rad onc will explain time table of the two. Basically implants or flaps must wait for 4 months after xrt.
Dr. Chad Levitt
Dr. Chad Levitt
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Dr. Otto Placik
Surgery - Plastics
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Vascular compromise

Radiation is wonderful at destroying cancer cells, unfortunately, other than targeting the physical area, it is not specific and may destroy local health cells in close proximity to cancer cells.
This will increase the local wound complication rate if local tissues are used for the reconstruction and the dr of distant flaps or free flaps may be preferred to bring in healthy tissue. Fat grafting?

In brief: Vascular compromise

Radiation is wonderful at destroying cancer cells, unfortunately, other than targeting the physical area, it is not specific and may destroy local health cells in close proximity to cancer cells.
This will increase the local wound complication rate if local tissues are used for the reconstruction and the dr of distant flaps or free flaps may be preferred to bring in healthy tissue. Fat grafting?
Dr. Otto Placik
Dr. Otto Placik
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Dr. Johnny Kao
Radiation Oncology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Reconstruction

Reconstruction after mastectomy and radiation therapy is absolutely possible.
First and foremost, remember that radiation following mastectomy contributes significantly to improved disease control and survival for most patients with positive lymph nodes or tumors measuring over 5 cm. While radiation may increase the risk of complications following breast reconstruction, the majority of patients can under successful reconstruction. In general, autogenous flaps are preferred over implants in the setting of radiation. Your surgeon, plastic surgeon and radiation oncologist will work together to achieve optimal results.

In brief: Reconstruction

Reconstruction after mastectomy and radiation therapy is absolutely possible.
First and foremost, remember that radiation following mastectomy contributes significantly to improved disease control and survival for most patients with positive lymph nodes or tumors measuring over 5 cm. While radiation may increase the risk of complications following breast reconstruction, the majority of patients can under successful reconstruction. In general, autogenous flaps are preferred over implants in the setting of radiation. Your surgeon, plastic surgeon and radiation oncologist will work together to achieve optimal results.
Dr. Johnny Kao
Dr. Johnny Kao
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Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo
Surgery - Plastics
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Definitely possible

Yes, you certainly can, but radiation can affect your results, especially if you have reconstruction with breast implants.
Tissue flap reconstructions tend to have fewer complications than implant reconstructions in patients that have had radiation. Please discuss this fully with your plastic surgeon.

In brief: Definitely possible

Yes, you certainly can, but radiation can affect your results, especially if you have reconstruction with breast implants.
Tissue flap reconstructions tend to have fewer complications than implant reconstructions in patients that have had radiation. Please discuss this fully with your plastic surgeon.
Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo
Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo
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