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Implant failure after radiation

BBrown2021
BBrown2021 Member Posts: 7

I had a double mastectomy with immediate implant reconstruction. I will need to have radiation, since there was cancer in one of my lymph nodes. Has anyone out here been through this? I'd like to know what the percentage of implant failure exists out here with radiation - not from research reports. I would also like to hear from anyone that had radiation with implants, that had a good outcome.

Thanks!

Comments

  • hapa
    hapa Member Posts: 613
    edited July 2021

    I had radiation after immediate over the muscle reconstruction with implants. I have mild capsular contracture on the rads side and may have a capsulectomy to try to fix that. I don’t think it’s generally noticeable in clothes (it’s not even super noticeable without clothes) but the scar tissue does bother me and I’d like it gone. I just can’t decide if I want it gone enough to do another surgery

  • BBrown2021
    BBrown2021 Member Posts: 7
    edited July 2021

    Thank you, hapa! Does the capsulectomy require removal of your implant?

  • star2017
    star2017 Member Posts: 370
    edited July 2021

    I had my implant in on my radiated side. No issue, aside from some tightness of the skin on the radiated side, which is normal.

  • BBrown2021
    BBrown2021 Member Posts: 7
    edited July 2021

    Thank you, star2017! Glad to hear it!

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited July 2021

    BBRown - So glad you posted this question. I had my exchange to implants on 7/9 to find out last week that cancer is back on same side. CT and bone scan have both come back indicating no spreading. I'm meeting with BS in about 2 hours and MO tomorrow to discuss treatment plan, I have a feeling that it's going to be radiation.

    Hapa and Star2017 thanks for sharing your experiences.


  • dani444
    dani444 Member Posts: 215
    edited July 2021

    I also had rads after UMX with direct to implant. My plastic surgeon followed me closely and my implant survived. It does sit higher and the skin is tighter but that was expected. My implants are over the muscle with alloderm. I hope you do well during your rads.

  • BBrown2021
    BBrown2021 Member Posts: 7
    edited July 2021

    Thank you, Dani444! Good to hear!

  • ajminn3
    ajminn3 Member Posts: 284
    edited July 2021

    I did a BMX with direct to implants and ended up needing rads. My rad side is tighter and slightly higher, but not really noticeable in clothes. My implant also seems more firm on that side. I still need to check in with my plastic surgeon to see what they recommend, but other than a little tightness, it doesn’t bother me much physically. BMX/recon was 1/2020 and rads ended 7/30/2020, so I am about a year out now.

  • hapa
    hapa Member Posts: 613
    edited July 2021

    It doesn't require anything, I just don't like it. It's really up to me if I want to do anything about it or not. If I want a capsulectomy then they would replace the implant at that time. I would not say it's an implant failure, per se. Just a complication.

  • BBrown2021
    BBrown2021 Member Posts: 7
    edited July 2021

    Thanks, ajminn3! That's helpful to know. Glad your side effects were minimal. I'm hoping for the same.

  • alden722
    alden722 Member Posts: 22
    edited May 2022

    Hapa: What did you decide about this? I have a fairly severe contracture and am boarded for surgery, but I am still not sure its worth surgery.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited May 2022

    alden722 - what type of surgery? (if you don't mind me asking)

  • wondering44
    wondering44 Member Posts: 252
    edited May 2022

    I had saline implants for about a year before I did radiation in Nov./Dec/2021 (they were lovely). My radiation side has capsular contracture. The nipple looks much higher now (nipple-sparing mastectomy without saline implant removal). The implant also has "intracapsular rupture." It was recommended I don't do any surgery right now on that breast due to the damage radiation does to the skin. The breast surgeon wants more time to allow the skin to heal just to remove the entire breast. She recommended I do "natural reconstruction" moving forward since I did radiation.

    I did not have issues during radiation except for an excellent odd-shaped tan on my right breast.

    I wish you luck on your reconstruction.

  • electricginger
    electricginger Member Posts: 1
    edited October 2022

    Hi B, I am in the same position as you. I m wondering how you got on. X

  • BBrown2021
    BBrown2021 Member Posts: 7
    edited October 2022

    UPDATE: Shortly after posting this question, I experienced implant failure. My DMX developed necrosis on the nipples and incisions. I had to have emergency surgery to remove my implants. I then took about 4 weeks to heal, and proceeded with my radiation (25 treatments). It was not bad, but after radiation it took about 3-4 weeks for the skin to heal. I'm now planning DIEP Flap reconstruction in June 2023. It was blessing in disguise. I think the radiation treatment would have caused problems with capsular contracture with the implants. I've come to terms with all of this, and am looking forward to a new body next year.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited October 2022

    I ended up having to do 25 sessions of rads almost two months after my exchange to implants due to a recurrence that was discovered during that surgery.

    My body rejected the implants and on top of that developed capsular contracture which caused me a lot of pain. I had a DIEP on August 25th and felt instant relief from the pain I had with the implants. My radiated side is very tender, but so much more tolerable than what it was with the implant, not to mention other health issues I was having due to the implants.

    I hope everything goes well for you!