I have had previous mastectomy and radiation therapy, and now want to have breast reconstruction. What is my best option?
In general, previously radiated tissue has impaired healing with surgical procedures and doesn’t stretch well because of scarring. Implant based reconstruction after radiation has a higher rate of delayed healing, infection, and reconstructive failure. Because of the tight radiated skin, it is very difficult to get an adequately sized implant reconstruction. Abdominal tissue breast reconstruction in a previously radiated area generally involves replacing much of the radiated tissue with healthy, non-radiated skin and fat. Because new non-radiated skin is used to replace the radiated skin on the chest, an adequate amount of breast can be created at the time of surgery. Timing is generally 3-6 months after completing radiation.