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Hereditary Cancer Info > Breast Reconstruction > Preparation and Recovery

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BRCA & HBOC
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Preparation and Recovery

This section outlines the many options available and information about reconstructing breasts following mastectomy.

Surgical risks & complications

All surgery has potential risks and complications; some more serious than others. Some reconstruction risks can affect recovery. Others can affect the cosmetic appearance of the breast and how scars heal. Some possible risks include:

  • Infection or inflammation of breast, which may require antibiotics or implant removal
  • Excess fluid at the surgical site (seroma or hematoma)
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Blood loss
  • Blood clots
  • Pain (post-operative and long-term pain syndromes)
  • Loss of implant or flap
  • Tissue necrosis
  • Rupture, rotation or movement of implant requiring removal
  • Capsular contraction or hardening of the scar tissue around the implant
  • Anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a very rare type of cancer is associated with breast implants

It is important to discuss possible surgical risks with your physician. Understand the potential seriousness and likelihood of these risks prior to surgery. If you experience complications or you are unhappy with your surgical outcome, have a conversation with your surgeon to address all your concerns. Don't hesitate to get a second opinion on the best way to resolve serious complications or unsatisfactory cosmetic results. 

Updated 04/20/2018

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