In the newest issue of The American Surgeon, a new study suggests that breast reconstruction surgery is safe for women over the age of 60 who have undergone a mastectomy (surgical removal of the breast).
“The removal of a breast has implications for the psychological, social and sexual well-being of the patient, establishing the need that reconstruction should be offered,” says Marissa Howard-McNatt, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at Wake Forest Baptist. “However, little is known about rates of reconstruction in elderly women after breast cancer.”
Breast cancer rates continue to rise and 48 percent of all cases affect women over the age of 65. This population, however, is much less inclined to elect breast reconstruction after mastectomy when compared to their younger counterparts. As a result, less has been known regarding the safety of this procedure in older women.
Research lead by Howard-McNatt and colleges sought to establish the safety and tolerability of breast reconstruction in older patients. The team of researchers compiled data from 89 cases of women over the age of 60 who elected breast reconstruction after mastectomy.
The results were positive, showing that breast reconstruction in older women was a safe and well tolerated option, even if older women are less likely to elect surgery than younger age groups.
According to Howard-McNatt, breast reconstruction can significantly increase life expectancy in these patients. “Generally, breast cancer in the elderly is less aggressive than in younger patients. Life expectancy can still be substantial – 16 years for a 70-year-old and greater than six years for an otherwise healthy 80-year-old.”
The number of women over the age of 65 is expected to double over the next 40 years and the rates of breast reconstruction after mastectomy is anticipated to increase as average life expectancies do.
Learn more about breast reconstruction after mastectomy in Houston, TX.
Keloid scarring is a rare complication that may occur following any surgical procedure, such as a tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty. While the scars for this procedure are often positioned so as to be unnoticed in swimwear or underwear, the formation of keloid scarring may cause pain and discomfort.
In addition to being uncomfortable, keloid scarring is often raised, red and darker than the surrounding skin. They are created as a result of excess collagen production following wound healing. For those more prone to the formation of keloids, there are certain steps that may be taken throughout the tummy tuck process to prevent this type of scarring.
Who Gets Keloid Scars and How to Avoid Them
It is impossible to tell for certain who will develop keloids and who will not. However, there are a number of factors that may predispose a patient towards this reaction. Those with darker skin and those who are 10-30 years old have a higher risk of developing keloid scarring. A family history of keloid development is also significant.
To prevent the formation of keloids for those who might be at an increased risk, your surgeon may choose to limit the size of the incision, particularly with the tummy tuck or other body contouring procedures. They may also limit the amount of external sutures or use removable stitches.
Once the procedure is complete, proper wound care may help prevent keloids from forming. This may include:
- Use of compression garments
- Laser scar treatments
- Proper care of the wound to prevent it from opening
- Silicone gels and gel sheets
- Following recommended skin care regimen
Should keloids form, steroid injections may be used to treat their development. In severe cases, a skin graft may be used to replace the scarred and damaged skin with healthy skin. Once keloids have formed, future procedures will be done with extreme care for preventing keloid development, as patients are more likely to develop keloids if they have had them before.