I’ve written a few times about my disappointment in the marked differences in my breasts following a lumpectomy and radiation. Thirteen years ago, when I had my first breast cancer, I was not aware I had reconstruction options, or maybe the procedures to correct the defects resulting from a lumpectomy and radiation had not yet been perfected.
Recent research turned up the following information, which may be helpful to those of you who may not know you can correct defects in your radiated breast that often become more obvious a few years after radiation.
Reconstruction may be performed soon after the lumpectomy if the surgical margins are clear of tumor and the excision is large enough to cause a significant defect after radiation changes are complete. Patients may choose to postpone reconstruction until after they complete all of their treatment.
Radiation changes can and do often occur over the course of three years. So, a lumpectomy defect that is small and initially acceptable is likely to change over time and may create an undesirable deformity. The options for correcting a lumpectomy include utilizing flaps, which are made of local skin and fat, or by using tissue from the abdomen.
Lumpectomy defects are generally treated based on the size and location of the contour defect. Small to moderate-sized defects can be reconstructed using a procedure known as fat grafting. Fat is liposuctioned from one part of the patient’s body, purified and then injected into the breast to fill the contour defect caused by the lumpectomy. This is a particularly good option for small contour defects less than 25% of the overall breast size. More than one fat grafting procedure may be required for best results. The likelihood of needing multiple fat grafting procedures increases as the size of the defect increases.
If a significant portion of the breast was removed by the lumpectomy, some women may be better served by a “completion mastectomy” and immediate reconstruction.
Sources: Website content:
www.breastrestoration.org – Dr. Spiegel
www.prma-enhance.com – Dr. Chrysopoulo