Nowadays, plastic surgeons advise women who are about to undergo a mastectomy with radiation treatment, to avoid immediate breast reconstruction (reconstruction and mastectomy performed). They believe that breast reconstruction should begin at the end of radiotherapy due to the large percentage of complications if performed otherwise.
In modern reconstruction centers of Europe and N. America this belief has changed.
These days a woman with mild malignancies undergoes skin spearing mastectomy with immediate breast reconstruction (placement of the tissue expander) until the completion of chemotherapy, radiotherapy. In the same surgical time we have also performed skin stretching.
Later on, we replace the tissue expander either with a combination of autologous tissue and silicone implants (latissimus dorsi muscle flap) or with autologous tissue alone. (DIEP).
This method provides the great advantage of quick recovery (4-6 months). If performed differently the patient would have undergone breast reconstruction after the completion of chemotherapy- radiotherapy which would have been performed at least a year after mastectomy. During all this time the patient would have to face the amputated image of her breast daily, while now she is totally relieved from this stressful situation.
Furthermore, during the reconstruction most of the skin would have been removed and replaced with skin from the back (latissimus dorsi) or the abdomen (rectus abdominis), due to radiation.
This technique can provide breast reconstruction but the mastectomized area and the new breast will have a different skin color in comparison to the surrounding skin.
However using the method described above, none of those incidents occur. The woman enjoys a new natural breast much sooner, cheaper and by avoiding the annoying scars of mastectomy.
The breast is like it has never been operated.
It is probably the most evolved reconstructive technique when it comes to radiotherapy after mastectomy.
These days this method is performed only by experienced plastic surgeons in certified centers.
There is currently no reason for the woman to suffer so much while she can have a lasting and definitive solution to this problem.