• Immediate reconstruction with unknown radiation plan

    Asked by marcy on Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Immediate reconstruction with unknown radiation plan

    Anyone out there have to make a decision about immediate reconstruction after mastectomy when you don't know whether or not you'll need radiation? Everything I read says the DIEP reconstruction goes best when it is done immediately but radiation can mess it up. How do you make a decision when you're not sure whether or not you'll need radiation? HELP!

    2 Answers from the Community

    • khsherwood's Avatar

      Had immediate reconstruction following my mastectomy. I didn't know if I would need radiation or chemotherapy afterwards. I had high-grade DCIS according to the lab results when they found dirty margins during the excisional biopsy. I ended up not needing further treatment after my mastectomy. I assume that you've had a biopsy, so your surgeon has an idea of what they will find, what type and grade of cancer you have. Armed with that knowledge ask your doctor what he/she thinks will happen as far as further treatment. I would back it up by looking up breast cancer treatment options online, such as on the American Cancer Society's site, according to type and grade, you can find out what they usually do. Good luck, I hope everything turns out alright for you, Kelly

      almost 9 years ago
    • catlady's Avatar

      That was one of the most frustrating things about the whole experience--having to make informed decisions when you didn't have all the information you need.

      At diagnosis, the oncologist felt I would need chemo but probably not radiation. I was going to do immediate recon (bilateral) but couldn't get the plastic surgeon scheduled at the same time as the general surgeon as soon as I wanted, and I wanted to get on with things.

      It turns out that the delay was probably best for me because I did need radiation. That changes your skin a lot, permanently, so it will affect what kind of reconstruction you can do after radiation as well as affecting any recon you do before radiation. I ended up with TRAM flap surgery 10 months later but still had some issues with healing because of the radiated skin.

      Be sure to talk to a plastic surgeon as well as your oncologist to get the best information you can.

      almost 9 years ago

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