For women undergoing mastectomy for breast cancer, immediate breast reconstruction has a low risk of complications including serious complications related to radiation therapy and does not cause undue delays in cancer treatment, reports a study in the July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®>, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

The results alleviate concerns that immediate reconstruction leads to increased complications and other problems after mastectomy. “These findings make a strong argument for immediate reconstruction regardless of cancer stage,” according to the study by Dr. Christopher A. Crisera of UCLA Medical Center and colleagues.

Benefits of Immediate Reconstruction Are Achieved with Low Complication Rates The researchers evaluated a significant number of women with advanced breast cancer who underwent breast reconstruction immediately after mastectomy. Over a ten-year period, immediate reconstruction was performed on 170 women, including reconstruction of both breasts in 13 patients. The reconstructions were mainly done using tissues from the abdominal area (TRAM flaps).

The outcomes of immediate breast reconstruction were analyzed, focusing on complication rates, timing of other cancer treatments and cosmetic results. The goal was to determine whether the proven benefits of immediate reconstruction were justified in terms of the risks and possible adverse effects