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.
Plastic surgeon Susan MacLennan works with a team of doctors to help ensure breast cancer patients know all their options for treatment and reconstruction. MacLennan said discussions with plastic surgeons are recommended so that even women who do not want reconstruction are educated. "Our primary goal is to restore function, meaning allowing the woman to wear what they want to wear and not have to worry about the absence of the breast," MacLennan said.
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.