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Update on breast reconstruction in breast cancer

Reavey, Patrick; McCarthy, Colleen M

Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology: February 2008 - Volume 20 - Issue 1 - p 61–67
doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e3282f2329b
Breast cancer: Edited by Anne O. Rodriguez

Purpose of review Presented is a brief overview of the current state of postmastectomy reconstruction.

Recent findings Breast reconstruction has been shown to have a positive effect on the psychological well being of women with breast cancer. Numerous studies have demonstrated that reconstruction performed concurrently with mastectomy is oncologically safe. Nevertheless, although increasing numbers of women are choosing to undergo postmastectomy reconstruction, this trend is inconsistent across demographic subgroups. In addition, the paradigm of performing immediate reconstruction on all-comers is being challenged by increasing use of postoperative radiotherapy. It is now appreciated that the implications of performing reconstruction in the setting of radiotherapy are both profound and controversial. Finally, questions are being raised about the factors that influence the ultimate surgical goal, namely patient satisfaction. It is anticipated that future investigations using newly developed, patient-reported outcome measures will provide important information about outcomes following reconstruction, which in turn will facilitate the decision-making process for both patients and surgeons.

Summary Recent refinements in surgical techniques and prosthetic technologies, development of novel tissue substitutes, and increasing use of adjuvant radiotherapy have led to changes in the practice of breast reconstruction following mastectomy.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Service, Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA

Correspondence to Colleen M. McCarthy, MD, MS, Assistant Attending Surgeon, Plastic and Reconstructive Service, Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, Room CMRI-1003, New York, NY 10021, USA Tel: +1 212 639 3289; fax: +1 212 717 3677; e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.