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implant after radiation?

Brooklyn1234 Member Posts: 29
edited September 2022 in Breast Reconstruction

Hello all,

I had a mastectomy and then 16 round of radiation 3 years ago. I don't want to go through the DIEP flap surgery. My original reconstruction surgeon refuses to insert implants on radiated skin, since you're more prone to infection and failure. I got a 2nd opinion from a reconstructive surgeon who is willing to do this procedure for me but only because i want tiny implants and it has been a few years since radiation, and my skin is in good shape. He would do it in three stages: fat grafting, tissue expander and then implant. He just wants me to be aware of the risks.

Anyone here done one of these? I would love to hear your experiences. Thank you!


  • hapa
    hapa Member Posts: 613
    edited July 2022

    I had a bilateral, direct to implant mastectomy and had radiation afterwards. My radiated side is all hard and contracted and rather uncomfortable now. I am planning to get a en bloc capsulectomy, hopefully later this year. It's a crapshoot whether the capsular contracture will come back. I think that is the bigger risk with implants under radiated skin. I didn't have any problems with healing, and i had two revisions so far. My new surgeon says that if this revision fails, the salvage surgery would have to be a lat flap, but I think if it comes to that I'll just have them removed. I can't abide taking a working muscle and using it to make a pointless, numb, bad looking boob.

    Your doctor's plan sounds pretty good. Will your implants be above or below the muscle?

  • abigails1
    abigails1 Member Posts: 4
    edited July 2022

    I had a mastectomy in July, 2021 followed by 5 weeks of radiation which ended in early December, 2021. My cancer center required me to wait 6 months prior to the reconstruction (I wanted implants and not the back flap type of surgery). I completed the implant surgery June, 2022 and have healed well. Radiated skin, as I understand it, creates some concerns but so far, so good.

  • dontwantthis
    dontwantthis Member Posts: 17
    edited September 2022

    Hi Brooklyn,

    I am probably too late in replying but I thought I would give you my outcome.

    I had a bilateral mastectomy (2nd cancer same breast, previous lumpectomy, chemo and rads). Today I saw 2 surgeons because my cancer side breast is a mess. Implants were put in October 2021, I still have pain every day, my cancer breast is tight, loss of blood supply and unhealthy tissue. All of this I have been told was because of the previous radiation.

    After seeing the surgeons today, the decision is made to take out the implant on that side, do a LD flap with a smaller implant (2 to 3 more surgeries) and hope everything will be better.

    So if you ask me, I would say don't do the implants.

    I pray you will be well!