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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2000 Jul;106(1):56-8; discussion 59-60.

Radiation therapy after immediate breast reconstruction with implants.

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  • 1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Bordet Institute, Tumor Center of the Universit√© Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.


The use of implants in immediate breast reconstruction is presently a common option. However, the practice should be evaluated in consideration of possible adjuvant therapies needed to control disease and to rule out negative interactions. This article discusses the effects of radiotherapy on breast implants with regard to the final cosmetic result. Six out of 124 cases of immediate breast reconstruction with implants were followed and evaluated in terms of capsular contracture and final aesthetic result after adjuvant radiotherapy and compared with the results of 118 patients who did not require irradiation. All of the patients who received irradiation demonstrated poor to fair results, with grade III to IV capsular contracture. Two patients received radiation therapy for local recurrences, which worsened their capsular contracture, emphasizing the deleterious effect of irradiation on breast implants. Statistical analysis of the results demonstrated a significant difference between the two groups in terms of capsular contracture and breast symmetry. In the selection of patient candidates for immediate breast reconstruction with implants, adjuvant radiation therapy must be considered as a contraindication, at least from an aesthetic point of view.

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