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Postmastectomy Reconstruction Safe for Breast Cancer

No increase in complications seen in radiation-treated patients who undergo breast reconstruction

THURSDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer patients requiring radiotherapy who undergo reconstructive surgery at the time of mastectomy have no more complications than those who do not have reconstructive surgery, researchers report in the October issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Chih-Jen Huang, M.D., of Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, in Taiwan, and colleagues compared recurrence and metastases in 82 breast cancer patients treated with postmastectomy radiotherapy and transverse rectus abdominis musculocutaneous flap reconstruction and 109 radiotherapy patients who did not undergo reconstructive surgery.

The researchers found that three of the reconstructive surgery patients experienced chest wall recurrence, versus two non-surgery patients. Ten of the reconstructive surgery group had distant metastases, versus 17 non-surgery patients.

Ninety percent of the reconstructive surgery patients had grade I acute radiation dermatitis, versus 85 percent of the others; nine percent of surgery patients had grade II dermatitis, versus 12 percent of the rest.

"There were no significant differences in the incidences of complication, locoregional recurrence, and distant metastases between the transverse rectus abdominis musculocutaneous flap reconstruction and non-transverse rectus abdominis musculocutaneous flap patients," the authors wrote. "The authors' results suggest that immediate ... flap reconstruction can be considered a feasible treatment for breast cancer patients requiring postmastectomy radiotherapy."

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