Complications Rates Low for Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction

A new study on mastectomy and breast reconstruction says that complication rates are low for patients undergoing mastectomy and breast reconstruction. Women chose to have surgery on their cancer-free breast for various reasons, ranging from the desire to achieve a more symmetric look to fear of cancer recurring. The study found risks to be lower for women undergoing a single mastectomy compared to those undergoing double mastectomy.

The study covered 18,000 breast cancer patients. Up to 64% of the women underwent a single mastectomy and the rest had a double mastectomy. Most of the women underwent reconstruction with breast implants, and not fat transfer breast reconstruction. The patients were evaluated for 30 days after they had the surgery. Here are some of the main findings of the study:

  • The overall complication rate was about 5.3%
  • The rate of implant loss for single mastectomy patients was 0.7 percent and that of double mastectomy, 1 percent
  • Among those who had implant reconstruction, a second surgery was needed within 30 days for 7.6 percent of double mastectomy patients vs. 6.8 percent for women who had a single mastectomy
  • For women had autologous reconstruction, blood transfusion rates were 3.4 percent for single mastectomy and 7.9 percent for double mastectomy
  • For women who went for implant-based reconstruction, blood transfusion rates were 0.3 percent for single mastectomy and 0.8 percent for double mastectomy
  • The rates of medical complications such as pneumonia and heart problems were low among those who underwent double and single mastectomy

The main objective of reconstruction should be to provide the results that the patient considers important to improving quality of life. The decision to have breast reconstruction surgery is a personal one. Consulting an experienced plastic surgeon can help women learn about the treatment and make the right decision.