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Existing Implants Instead of Expander Used in Breast to Be Radiated, then Reconstructed with DIEP Flap. Should I Remove Implant?

I already have silicone implants, and will be getting a masectomy of my left breast in about 1 week, and will be undergoing radiation after, then reconstruction later. My ps will be placing Alloderm over my existing implant and leaving implant in instead of using a tissue expander prior to radiation. I'm wanting to do a DIEP flap reconstruction later and remove my implants. Is it necessary to leave my implant in prior to radiation? Should I have my implants removed completely first?

Doctor Answers (3)

Implant breast reconstruction


It is more common to place an expander after a mastectomy than an implant because it gives you the option to increase the skin envelope with expansion.  However, an implant can work if a skin sparing mastectomy is performed and it is not excessively large.  The radiation oncologist may have an issue with the implant due to the mass effect of the implant on the radiation beam so they will need to be consulted about this.  In general it is good to place a device under your skin to salvage as much tissue for the eventual reconstruction.

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Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Breast Reconstruction after radiation?


Excellent question, Breast Cancer is a disease that 1 in 8 women will have to deal with. Very difficult to answer this question without an exam and history, but in general breasts that are radiated and have an implant or tissue expander in place have a higher rate of complications, and maintaining an implant is not absolutely necessary. But, people certainly sequence the procedure like your PS is proposing.Lots to talk about and I recommend consulting with someone who is experienced with DIEP flaps before proceeding, good luck!

Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Breast reconstructon after radiation


You pose an interesting question, but I am assuming based upon yoru description that the mastectomy will be performed( as a skin sparing?) while leaving your implant in place?  If so, while you  may develop a tight capsule the DIEP may be able to placed inside( buried) without requiring the skin of the flap to be used and therefore limiting your scarrring.  Hard to say without an exam.  Good luck.

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

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