Complication Rates Low with Mastectomy

A new study found that breast cancer patients who undergo a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery experience low complication rates. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, researchers followed more than 18,000 breast cancer patients who had a single or double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery for 30 days after their procedures.

The study, which will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Breast Cancer Symposium in San Francisco, found that the overall complication rate from a mastectomy was 5.3 percent.

There was a slightly higher rate of complication when women had a double mastectomy compared to a single. The source said women who underwent a double mastectomy were 0.8 percent more likely to require a second surgery to repair any issues within 30 days compared to the women who only had a single mastectomy. 

"Women choose surgery on their cancer-free breast for lots of different reasons, ranging from a desire to achieve a more symmetric look after surgery to fear of cancer coming back. Our findings show that both unilateral and bilateral procedures are safe overall, but bilateral mastectomy is associated with higher risks for certain complications," Dr. Mark Sisco, a clinical assistant professor of surgery at the University of Chicago School of Medicine and study author, said in a statement. "These results are reassuring for women who are considering mastectomy with reconstruction and provide additional information that may weigh in their choice of surgery."

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