-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have breast
reconstruction surgery using a transplanted flap of their own
tissue have a low rate of short-term complications, a new study
Tissue expansion with an implant is the most common type of
breast reconstruction for breast cancer patients who have undergone
mastectomy (breast removal), the study authors said. But many women
prefer the more natural results when their own tissue is used for
the procedure, a process called autologous breast
However, it hasn't been known which autologous breast
reconstruction technique provides the best results and has the
lowest risk of post-surgical complications.
In this study, researchers analyzed data from nearly 3,300 women
in the United States who underwent three different types of
autologous breast reconstruction and found that the overall rate of
complications in the 30 days after surgery was 12.5 percent.
The risk varied by the type of flap procedure, however. The
rates of complications were about 7 percent, 13 percent and 19
percent for the three types of flap procedures examined in the
study, according to the findings, which were published in the
February issue of the
Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
The method with the lowest complication rates used flaps from
the latissimus area of the patient's back; however, that procedure
might cause different side effects not tracked in the database used
in the study, the authors noted.
Overall, the three procedures are generally safe and there are
few serious complications, the researchers concluded.
"There are minor and treatable flap complications that can occur, such as wound infection. But serious complications, such as heart attack, were rare," principal investigator Dr. John Kim, an associate professor of surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a journal news release.
"Our study dispels the notion that autologous breast reconstruction has major medical complications," added Kim, who also is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
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