Will my implants fail because my skin is radiated?
Doctor Answers 7
Implants after Radiation
Radiation and breast implants
If you are considering another mastectomy then it is a very good question whether or not you should proceed with an implant exchange for the irradiated breast or have a tissue reconstruction.
It is not a simple answer and one that is impossible to give without a consultation.
Evidence suggests that most patients who replace an irradiated tissue expander with a tissue reconstruction (such as a DIEP flap), rather than an implant, will have a better outcome in the long term with less complications and operations over their lifetime.
I suggest you discuss with your breast and plastic surgeons your plans regarding mastectomy and reconstruction and make a well informed choice. There is no need to rush into another operation at this stage and allowing time to heal is a good idea.
All the best with your future surgery.
Implants and radiation
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Implants and Radiation
Implants and Radiation
Radiation and breast reconstruction
Radiation can complicate an implant-based reconstruction. That being said, implants can be used in the setting of radiation, too. Several centers and research studies have shown implants can be used with radiation, understanding that the cosmetic outcome may be suboptimal and complications may be higher. If you implants fail, there are other methods to reconstruct your breasts, such as using your own tissue. There are several different options to use your own tissue to reconstruct a breast.
Good luck on your journey!
Manish C. Champaneria, MD
Reconstruction with implants and radiotherapy
I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis and I hope that you have coped with the surgery/ chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
It is true that there is an increased risk of complications with expanders/implants after radiotherapy but it is not definite that the reconstruction will "fail". Recent studies put the risk of major complications of radiotherapy to implant based reconstruction at around 40% - which is high - but still less than half.
If you are considering having a mastectomy and reconstruction on the right side, given that you have had an implant based reconstruction on the left, for the sake of symmetry, I would suggest you try for placement of either an expander or even straight to implant on the right side at the time of exchange.
The other thing to remember is that there are other forms of reconstruction you can have, even if the worst happens with the left breast reconstruction. Tissue can be moved from other parts of the body - either in combination with an implant or just using your own tissue alone - to reconstruct a breast. If you are considering a right mastectomy, I think it is important to use the same technique - whatever that may be - for both sides.
Please discuss all these concerns you have with your plastic surgeon and they will be best able to advise you about the risks specific to your case.
I hope this helps.
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.