Have Shrinkage, Radiated Reconstructed Side, Also Hardening/scarring/ 7 Wks Post Op, How Long Wait Period?

Radiation was 9 months ago, thought safe /since more cancer was found to have masectomy/reconstruction at same time. Radiated side is not working out, scarring appeared 6 wks post-op, and shrinkage. How long to wait for repairs and can the outcome be favorable? Hda diep flap radiated side, tram on other. Also have alot on weakness in stomach area. Will this go away?

Doctor Answers 1

Difficult problem!

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Sinbad1: Wow! Radiation damage continues for approximately 9-18 months, depending on the dosimetry. Regrettably, the need for XRT isn't usually known until after the axillary lymph node sampling has been analyzed by Pathology.  Its immediate effects are to cause a dry desquamation (sloughing) of the skin with textural changes and volumetric loss, which continues for the same period of time.  Ultimately the scars will improve, as XRT is used therapeutically for hypertrophic and keloid scars.  As a PS, I normally consult the Radiation Oncologists for advice on when to do revisions and then wait a little longer.  As far as the weakness in your TRAM flap harvest site, it will improve, as I assume that only one rectus muscle was harvested.  Good luck.

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