If I wait 1 year after radiation, can I get implant reconstruction? I'm a single mom and don't want DIEP. No mastectomy yet.

I was diagnosed right breast Neoplasm ( soft tissue local sarcoma ) in my right breast. I've told skin-sparing mastectomy after the Radiation 5 month ago, then I've done radiation 2 month ago.My plastic surgeon recently told me that take mastectomy now and being flat 1 year, then he'll give DIEP Flap next year. I'm single mom, don't want big scars, can't afford long time healing for DIEP. If I wait dead tumor removal surgery till next year, then can I have implant reconstruction same time?

Doctor Answers 2

If I wait 1 year after radiation, can I get implant reconstruction? I'm a single mom and don't want DIEP. No mastectomy yet.

In your question you mention that you will be having radiation PROR to the mastectomy so I disagree with one of the answers below. Absolutely you can have implant based reconstruction if you have the mastectomy BEFORE any radiation with placement of the tissue expander. Then you could be expanded BEFORE radiation and proceed in 6-12 months with implant and fat transfer. But, because you will be having your radiation first before mastectomy you would not be a candidate for implant based reconstruction alone without a flap. Once the tissue has been radiated you are looking at a 30% chance of a complication based on recent literature. The answer that we would all give to the medical board if asked this question would be to do a flap for you because you will be radiated first before the mastectomy. Otherwise you are just gambling and will probably not have a good outcome trying to expand and already radiated breast. 

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Breast reconstruction after radiation

It is possible to undergo successful implant based reconstruction after radiation. This will depend on the status of your tissues. I routinely recommend placement of expanders at time of mastectomy to preserve the mastectomy flaps and waiting at least 6 months to one year after radiation to proceed with placement of the implant. I prefer using anatomic shaped implants and fat graft the radiated flaps to augment the skin quality and correct contour deformities. Best, Dr. Yegiyants 

Sara Yegiyants, MD, FACS
Santa Barbara Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

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