my wife underwent mastectomy right breast, the skin turned black around incision site and is not healing

tried hyperbaric therapy did not work. underwent second surgery to remove necrotic tissue skin starting to turn black again around incision site please help

Doctor Answers 4

Mastectomy skin problems

I'm so sorry to hear about the issues with your wife and her breast reconstruction. One of the major risks with mastectomy is wound healing problems. This may mean a small loss of skin or kt an incision opening up. I your wife did not have reconstruction with an implant or a tissue expander, then this skin loss is not worrisome. If she does have a synthetic material below than it may be a huge issue. Nonetheless, there are risks to why this happens: bigger breast, aggressive cancer and need for thin skin left, smoking, anemia, too much pressure on chest from too much fluid in tissue expander, etc. know that this is not an uncommon issue, and if there is no reconstruction that she will heal well in due time. If she did have reconstruction, and the implant needed to be removed, know that there are many options available to her to make a great breast. Best wishes to you both. 

Non-healing wound after mastectomy

I am sorry to hear about this problem but it should be addressed by the treating surgeon, both in terms of evaluation and treatment.  If the flaps are dying or compromised, then additional surgical intervention may be required.

My wife underwent mastectomy right breast, the skin turned black around incision site and is not healing.

Thank you for your question.  I am sorry to hear of your unfortunate complication following your mastectomy/reconstructive procedure, especially after all going on with you both.  Wound healing issues and mastectomy flap necrosis are certainly known risks and complications following such procedures.  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is one modality for wounds.  However, if there still is frank necrosis, as indicated by the black areas, unfortunately, further debridement will likely be needed to remove all necrotic tissue.  Medical comorbidities, smoking, previosu history of radiation, diabetes, etc., do contribute to this risk and close management shoudl be done if any of these conditions are present.

I would continue close follow-up with your plastic surgeon and follow his/her recommendations on local wound care, restrictions, and possible need for further procedures.  Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

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Healing after mastectomy

There seems to be a problem healing probably due to insufficient blood supply to the skin. This is something her surgeon should be dealing with and, unfortunately, there is not much that can be done on line. I am sure this is an anxious time for both of you so stay in close touch with her surgeon and you might want to consider asking for a second opinion as to what else might be helpful. Good luck to both of you.

Margaret Skiles, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
3.6 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

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