Breast Reconstruction Complications and Medical Malpractice
Breast cancer can feel terrifying. At first, a person may feel a lump in the breast, experience bloody discharge from the nipple, or see changes to the shape or texture of the nipple or breast. By the time that person gets medically checked out and a diagnosis of breast cancer is confirmed, treatment options may be limited.
While breakthroughs are announced frequently, in terms of medical treatment for breast cancer patients, there is still no cure. The type of treatment available depends on the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis. Surgery can be as little as a lumpectomy and as large as a mastectomy. The tissue itself can be targeted in a tissue expansion and lymph nodes dissected.
At the end of these surgical procedures, the breast may be deformed, missing parts, and heavily scarred. Many women plan a mammaplasty at the same time they have surgery to remove the cancerous tissue. There are many benefits to having both procedures performed at the same time. Notably, recovery is less time consuming and some women claim it feels better to have a reconstructed breast than the scar and missing parts at the end of the procedure.
It turns out, however, that the women who undergo breast reconstruction have complications that are surprising. One in three women undergoing breast reconstruction have complications. One in five requires more surgery, and in 5% of cases, reconstruction fails. A new report on post-operative breast reconstruction complications, published in the JAMA Surgery and authored by Dr. Andrea Pusic and Dr. Edwin Wilkins, found that the complication rate after reconstruction is very high, especially if the patient’s own tissue is used in the mammaplasty procedure, rather than artificial implants.
Patients are encouraged to discuss their treatment and reconstruction plans with their medical doctor. The researchers in the above-referenced study found evidence that it is better to wait to have the mammoplasty, rather than doing it at the same time as the breast surgery to remove cancerous tissue.
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