Patients older than 65 undergoing breast reconstruction employing autologous tissue are at higher risk of venous thromboembolism than younger women, according to a study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Age had little bearing on risks for other complications associated with breast reconstruction, and the overall VTE rate was only 1% when autologous tissue was used, researchers reported.
Rose Ciardiello had a mastectomy and reconstruction after being diagnosed with breast cancer at 38 years old, but her wounds did not heal well, her breasts appeared uneven after a second mastectomy and she developed keloid scars. Plastic surgeon Beth Collins replaced Ciardiello's saline implants with new silicone implants and used fat transfer to finish the reconstruction. The result is breasts that are balanced and healthy-looking, Collins and Ciardiello say.
Women facing breast reconstruction should take charge of their own health to determine their best option, plastic surgeon Joel Aronowitz said at the World Stem Cell Summit in West Palm Beach, Fla. Aronowitz performed actress Suzanne Somers' autologous lipid transfer for her post-mastectomy reconstruction.
A breast cancer survivor initially given a choice between lumpectomy with radiation or single mastectomy is lobbying the state Legislature to implement a law similar to one in New York, which requires doctors to inform patients of reconstruction options before surgery. "It's very, very sad that only 30% of women are even informed of what their reconstructive options might be," said Tammy Carrington, who chose to undergo double mastectomy immediately followed by breast reconstruction.