Avoiding Complications from Breast Reconstruction?

What can I do to improve the overall appearance and possible complications?

Doctor Answers 5

Top 3 Tips for Avoiding Breast Reconstruction Complications

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Here are my top three tips for minimizing complications after a breast reconstruction:
• If you are a smoker, stop smoking. That change is the most significant method for avoiding complications.
• If you are diabetic, maintain close glucose control. Eat a good regular diet, well-balanced with nutrients. In addition, vitamin C has been helpful.
• Preoperatively, we have our patients bathe with a chlorhexidine bath for three days prior to surgery.

Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Avoiding complications with breast reconstruction

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There is no way to completely avoid complications. The most important thing to do is to remain healthy, eat right, stay within a normal weight range, and avoid smoking to name a few.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Avoiding complications from breast reconstruction

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This is a good question. There are several variables, some that you can control and some you cannot.  You do want to be at your optimal condition - healthier patients who are not obese, non-smoker, who is not steroid dependent will do better.  It also depends on your cancer treatment and reconstruction choice.  Radiation will increase risks of wound healing problems and implant-related complication, so I usually perform autologous (your own tissue) reconstruction on patients who have had radiation.  Implant-based reconstruction may have slightly higher wound healing problems and implant-related problems than autologous reconstruction.  Also, you should get your reconstruction by board certified plastic surgeon who is very familiar with the type of reconstruction that you want to get.  In terms of overall appearance of reconstruction, it will be dependent on your body frame, what kind of "look" that you are going for, and your cancer care.  If you are not needing radiation and want "implanted look," then you can go with implant-based reconstruction.  When you make your decision on the type of reconstruction, also think about your social needs as autologous reconstruction requires a longer recovery time.  You should discuss all your options with your plastic surgeon.

Many issues here

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First of all, the one thing that dramatically inceases the complication rate in breast reconstruction is something you have no control over - namely the history of radiation therapy treatments. Implants and radiation generally don't mix well. Best to use your own tissue in these cases.

Otherwise, the next best thing you can do is go to a surgeon who can offer ALL types of breast reconstruction, from implants and expanders all the way to microsurgical flaps. Only then can all of your options be made available and the best one selected for your situation.

Lastly, be in optimal medical condition, don't smoke, and have realistic expectations.

Minimizing Breast Complications

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This is an extremely complex subject and it would be impossible to provide a complete. answer.

Number 1: Avoid smoking if you do.

Number 2: Be conservative in your desred volumes.

Number 3: Seek and experienced surgeon.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.