Risks

Breast reconstruction with flap surgery is a major procedure and carries with it the possibility of significant complications, including:

  • Changes in breast sensation
  • Prolonged time in surgery and under anesthesia
  • Extended recovery and healing time
  • Poor wound healing
  • Fluid collection (seroma)
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Tissue death (necrosis) due to insufficient blood supply
  • Loss of sensation at the tissue donor site
  • Abdominal wall hernia or weakness

Radiation therapy delivered to the skin and chest wall may pose complications during healing if it's given after breast reconstruction surgery. Your doctor may recommend waiting until you're finished with radiation therapy before proceeding with breast reconstruction.

Dec. 03, 2016
References
  1. AskMayoExpert. Breast reconstruction. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  2. Breast reconstruction after mastectomy. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/reconstruction-fact-sheet. Accessed Sept. 29, 2016.
  3. Townsend CM Jr, et al. Breast reconstruction. In: Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 29, 2016.
  4. Breast reconstruction after mastectomy. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/moreinformation/breastreconstructionaftermastectomy. Accessed Oct. 24, 2016.
  5. Jagsi R, et al. Patient-reported quality of life and satisfaction with cosmetic outcomes after breast conservation and mastectomy with and without reconstruction. Annals of Surgery. 2015;261:1198.
  6. Boughey JC, et al. Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) consensus statement from the American Society of Breast Surgeons: Data on CPM outcomes and risks. Annals of Surgical Oncology. 2016;23:3100.
  7. Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 26, 2016.