Reporting in the Archives of Surgery(September 2004), researchers found thatwomen who undergo mastectomy forbreast cancer also can have immediatebreast reconstruction (IBR) at the time ofsurgery without delaying chemotherapy, ifthis treatment also is needed. The researchersnoted, however, that this optionis not without risks. Specifically, the risksinclude wound complications, which coulddelay chemotherapy, possibly jeopardizingthe patient's chance for survival.
In the current study, the researchers analyzeddata from 128 women with breastcancer (62 of whom underwent IBR and 66of whom did not). The women had a total of148 mastectomies at the UC Davis MedicalCenter in Sacramento, Calif. The rate ofwound complications (eg, infection andbleeding) was 22% in the IBR group, comparedwith 8% in the comparison group.Even with the increased rate of wound complications,IBR did not impede the start ofchemotherapy. Of all the participants, only 2patients in each group started chemotherapylater than 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.That time frame is when most physiciansprefer to begin a course of treatment.