Women interested in immediate breast reconstruction after mastectomy should not worry that their implants could cause, hinder detection of, or affect treatment of cancer recurrence, according to a study presented today at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2005 conference in Chicago.
“For women contemplating immediate breast reconstruction, there is a lot of information being presented to them. As plastic surgeons, we want to help our patients feel better about their bodies without risking their safety and long-term health,” said Andrea Pusic, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and co-author of the study. “It is important for us to provide them with hard facts that show an implant does not increase the chance that their cancer could recur, delay the diagnosis of a recurrence or affect the outcome.”
In the study, 309 women who had immediate breast reconstruction with an implant were compared, on the basis of age and stage of disease, to a group of 309 women who had mastectomy without reconstruction. The incidence of local breast cancer recurrence in reconstructed patients (6.8 percent) was not significantly different from non-reconstructed patients (8.1 percent). In addition, the implants did not hinder early detection of recurrence. Ninety-five percent of recurrences were initially detected by physical examination of the breast during regular check-ups with their plastic surgeon or oncologist. Five percent of recurrences were detected through a computer-assisted tomography (CT) or bone scan.
The treatment for recurrence was not affected by the implants and did not generally require removal of the implants. In the study, only three of the 21 patients who experienced a recurrence had their implants removed after treatment, and two of those patients specifically requested their implants be removed for personal reasons.
“We are pleased to report that treating breast cancer recurrence rarely requires the removal of patients’ implants,” said Dr. Pusic. “This is reassuring information for women who choose to have implant-based breast reconstruction.”
In 2004, almost 63,000 women had breast reconstruction after mastectomy, according to ASPS statistics. The American Cancer Society estimates 211,240 new cases of invasive breast cancer will occur in 2005 among women in the United States and more than 40,000 women will die from the disease.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. With more than 5,800 Member Surgeons, the society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Dr Chrysopoulo is board certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and specializes in breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy for breast cancer. He and his partners perform hundreds of microsurgical breast reconstructions with perforator flaps each year including DIEP flap reconstruction. PRMA Plastic Surgery, San Antonio, Texas. Toll Free: (800) 692-5565. Keep up to date with the latest breast reconstruction news by following Dr Chrysopoulo's Breast Reconstruction Blog.