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Immediate breast reconstruction after mastectomy does not affect survival

Many women undergo mastectomy for the treatment of breast cancer, however, it is recognisably associated with serious subsequent deleterious effects, such as psychological problems associated with altered body image, as well as significant physical limitations.
Breast cancer surgery scar

Many women undergo mastectomy for the treatment of breast cancer, however, it is recognisably associated with serious subsequent deleterious effects, such as psychological problems associated with altered body image, as well as significant physical limitations.

Immediate breast reconstruction (IBR) has been shown to improve patient outcomes for quality of life, functional well-being, sexuality and femininity.

Nevertheless, some surgeons remain uncertain or unconvinced about the effect of such measures on patient survival and cancer recurrence.

This Chinese article reports the findings of a comprehensive systematic analysis of medical databases, which was undertaken in 2015, to answer those concerns. A secondary outcome analysis was the incidence of procedural-related infection.

A search of PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science and Cochrane Library databases resulted in the quantitative synthesis of 31 studies involving 30,485 patients who underwent IBR after mastectomy,

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Many women undergo mastectomy for the treatment of breast cancer, however, it is recognisably associated with serious subsequent deleterious effects, such as psychological problems associated with altered body image, as well as significant physical limitations.

Breast cancer surgery scar
Breast cancer surgery scar. Picture: Science Photo Library

Immediate breast reconstruction (IBR) has been shown to improve patient outcomes for quality of life, functional well-being, sexuality and femininity.

Nevertheless, some surgeons remain uncertain or unconvinced about the effect of such measures on patient survival and cancer recurrence.

This Chinese article reports the findings of a comprehensive systematic analysis of medical databases, which was undertaken in 2015, to answer those concerns. A secondary outcome analysis was the incidence of procedural-related infection.

A search of PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science and Cochrane Library databases resulted in the quantitative synthesis of 31 studies involving 30,485 patients who underwent IBR after mastectomy, and 109,409 who underwent mastectomy alone.

The findings suggested that the procedural approaches were as good as each other, in terms of overall and disease-free survival and also in the recorded incidence of local disease relapse.

However, IBR was associated with a significantly higher risk of infection at the surgical site.


Zhang P, Li C, Wu C et al (2016) Comparison of immediate breast reconstruction after mastectomy and mastectomy alone for breast cancer: a meta-analysis. European Journal of Surgical Oncology. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2016.07.006

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