Radiation And Tissue Expander, What Should I Know?

The indications for radiation therapy after mastectomy are becoming more common. In some scenarios the need for radiation is known prior to the mastectomy, and in some scenarios it’s not determined until after the mastectomy, when the ‘surgical stage’ is determined.

Patients who elect to have a tissue expander placed prior to radiation therapy have choices for the second stage of reconstruction. Many elect to have the permanent implant placed, whereas others will elect to convert the reconstruction to tissue-based reconstruction. In patients who elect to have the permanent implant placed they are at higher risk of short-term and long-term complications. Short term complications include delayed healing and infection, long term risk includes an accelerated progression to capsular contracture. (…article reference…). Converting the reconstruction to tissue-based reconstruction has the advantage of avoiding these risks as the overall complications do not differ from non-radiated patients.