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J Clin Oncol. 2010 Jan 1;28(1):173-80. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2008.21.7588. Epub 2009 Nov 2.

Application of screening principles to the reconstructed breast.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, 1600 Divisadero St, Box 1710, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.


A significant number of women choose mastectomy for the treatment of early and locally advanced breast cancer. Advances in reconstruction techniques and greater awareness of options have led to an increased use of immediate breast reconstruction, which has resulted in uncertainty for the management of surveillance for local recurrence. In this article, we review mastectomy and reconstruction trends and how these techniques affect the frequency and location of local recurrence. The data on surveillance imaging of the reconstructed breast are extremely limited. However, by assessing the potential role for imaging in this setting and applying the principles of screening, we have identified that there is a potential theoretic advantage of surveillance imaging in a very small subset of women: those with autologous tissue reconstructions and moderate to high risk of recurrence. A prospective registry study of surveillance imaging in this target population would be the appropriate way to determine its benefit and its impact on survival outcomes. In this review article, we will detail the reasons that should allow clinicians to forego routine surveillance imaging in the majority of women who undergo mastectomy and reconstruction.

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