Had A Double Mastectomy April 10th, and Have To Go In To Have Dead Skin Cells Removed. Is This Common?

I am 34 and had a double mastectomy April 10th and have to go in tomorrow to have dead skin removed. Is this common? Also, will the skin be fine once the dead area is removed?

Doctor Answers 4

Breast reconstruction, nipple reconstruction, breast cancer, DCIS, mastectomy, TUG flap, DIEP flap, Latissimus flap, fat graft i

The mastectomy itself is a stressful operation for the skin and fat of the chest that remains.  This tissue is stressed again when we place tissue expanders of DIEP flaps in the case of an autologous reconstruction.  This tissue has to heal and in many instances small areas are unable to survive.

Mastectomy skin necrosis

It sounds like you are experiencing some healing issues after your mastectomy.   Your are probably experiencing what's called mastectomy skin necrosis.   This can occur in smokers or if the skin flap from your mastectomy is too thin to survive.   If and when this occurs, early intervention to remove the dead skin helps to save your reconstruction.

Best of luck

Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

Mastectomy and skin issues

Mastectomy flaps sometimes do not heal well because they are too thin and sometimes do not have adequate blood supply. Usually a small debridement ( cleaning of tissue) is all that is necessary to re-close the incisions.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews


Assuming that you had no reconstruction done. The mastectomy may have been a skin sparing or nipple sparing mastectomy. Some times the skin vascularity is compromised and one looses skin which have to be cleaned (debrided), then close the skin either primary closure or with a flap. It happens but not very common.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

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