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Study supports immediate reconstruction after mastectomy

Performing breast reconstruction surgery at the time of mastectomy does not delay post-operative chemotherapy for women with breast cancer, according to the first study designed to answer the question. The study appeared in the September issue of Archives of Surgery.

"At most academic centers that routinely care for women with breast cancer, immediate breast reconstruction is the norm for women who opt for mastectomy," said Richard Bold, associate professor of surgical oncology at UC Davis Cancer Center and senior author of the study. "However, a number of our patients come to us after having been told elsewhere that they should not have immediate reconstruction because it delays chemotherapy. We felt it was an important question to settle."

Bold and his colleagues reviewed the charts of 128 women who underwent mastectomy at UC Davis Cancer Center between 1995 and 2002. They found that while wound complications were more common with immediate reconstruction, the complications were too mild — minor skin infections and small scabs, primarily — to warrant any delay in starting chemotherapy.

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