Alloderm infection after surgery, softening of the breasts after bilateral nipple sparing mastectomy and sensation (Photo)

1) if the alloderm is going to get infected after reconstructive surgery for breast cancer, how soon after the surgery is it typical for the infection to occur? 2) does a reconstructed breast (after nipple sparing mastectomy for breast cancer) with an implant behind the pectoralis muscle and using an allograft -- get softer with time? How soon? 3) Also, does sensation to the breast and nipple ever return after the surgery above?

Doctor Answers 4

Breast reconstruction

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By three weeks alloderm is considered to be healed not position.  Of course this can vary from person to person and the techniques used as well as the position of where the material has been placed.

Three basic forms of breast reconstruction exist. You can use your own tissue, implants or a combination of the previous two techniques. Your own tissue can be used in the form of the DIEP flap, PAP flap, SGAP flap or fat grafting. Implants can be done in one stage or two stage. Two stage reconstructions are started by placing expanders at the time of mastectomy. Once they expanders are placed they are able to be inflated as determined by wound healing. The final time consists of combining any of the above techniques.

If you are interested in being seen in Austin please give us a call. I know this is a difficult time for you. The majority of my practice is devoted to reconstruction for women with breast cancer or who are BRCA+

Breast Reconstruction Recovery

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1. If Alloderm is used in breast reconstruction, it is likely that any infection will develop in the first few weeks. However, there is definitely a set of patients who develop delayed infection months after reconstruction. It is not clear why this happens.

2. Reconstruction does soften with time. Twice daily massage can help. My patients use my Dr. Vaniver Breast and Body Recovery Serum, which is castor oil based, and all-natural. It takes up to a year or more to see the final result.

3. Because the tissue under the nipples is removed, it is unlikely that sensation will return. However, a small number of patients do report return of some sensation.

Karen Vaniver, MD
Kennewick Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Breast reconstruction

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Normally infection occurs within first 2 weeks or so but late infections can happen. Implant based reconstruction will always be harder than the normal breasts. Breast remain numb after reconstruction although some sensation might come back. 

Alloderm infection after surgery, softening of the breasts after bilateral nipple sparing mastectomy and sensation

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Hello! Thank you for your question! I'll do my best to address your questions: 1) Following implant-based breast reconstruction procedures with acellular dermal matrix (e.g., AlloDerm, FlexHD, AlloMax, etc.), it is most common to experience infections within the first couple of weeks following the procedure. While it is more typical that there is a periprosthetic infection...which then could extend to the surrounding tissue and dermal matrix, they most commonly occur within the first couple of weeks. However, it is possible to develop infections several weeks to months down the road, which is more commonly caused by contamination of the tissue or dermal matrix. In my experience, the chance for infection lessens as the time from the initial procedure increases. 2) The breast softens with time. Typically following a surgical procedure, swelling and inflammation continues up to 6-12 weeks postoperatively, which then gradually subsides over time and you will notice a softer, more supple reconstructed breast as the implant settles into its pocket. 3) Your breast and nipple will never have the same sensation as it did prior to the mastectomy. The dermal innervation will slowly creep towards the incisions from the periphery and will gradually gain some sensation up to a year in time. Hope that this helps!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

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.