Breast reconstruction options can often be limited for women who have multiple chronic conditions. Reconstruction can also be riskier. Obesity is a common condition that makes some women more susceptible to certain complications following surgery. You may be wondering what you can do to ensure a safe procedure if you happen to be a bit on the heavier side. Well, one thing you can do is look into oncoplastic breast reconstruction.
Oncoplastic breast reconstruction combines aspects of plastic surgery and breast cancer surgery. It allows for aesthetically pleasing results following a lumpectomy. Similar to a breast reduction procedure, oncoplastic reconstruction removes a large amount of breast tissue. However, surgeons attempt to include the entire area of the tumor within the tissue that is being removed. This improves the appearance of the breast after the procedure. It also provides the added benefit of a quality of life improvement.
According to a recent study, oncoplastic breast reconstruction offers lower complication rates. This is especially true among women who are obese or have other chronic conditions.
Oncoplastic Breast Reconstruction and BMI: The Data
Winnie M. Y. Tong, MD, of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and her colleagues, recently evaluated over 400 reconstruction patients. The patients underwent either immediate breast reconstruction or oncoplastic reconstruction between 2005 and 2013. On average, the patients were between 53 and 55 years old, with similar stages of breast cancer. The average Body Mass Index (BMI) for oncoplastic reconstruction patients was 37. Immediate reconstruction patients had an average BMI of 35.
After studying all the patients, the researchers found that although there were higher rates of comorbidities among the oncoplastic patients, the group as a whole had fewer complications. They experienced less seromas and hematomas compared to the women who had immediate reconstruction. They also had fewer complications that resulted in delays for any additional therapies needed following cancer treatment.
These results are encouraging for women who have higher BMIs or other chronic conditions. Although more research is still likely needed to fully assess what types of breast reconstruction procedures are safest for women with comorbidities, these results can still help breast cancer professionals better optimize care for breast cancer patients who are obese.
If you would like to read more about the study and the researchers’ hopes for their results, click here.