Breast Cancer Recurrence Risk Does Not Increase Following DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction
By: Courtney Floyd
The study was performed to address the suggestion that major surgery can trigger tumor progression in breast cancer patients. The DIEP flap is performed by transplanting skin and fatty tissue from the lower abdomen to the chest using microsurgery to reconstruct a warm, soft, natural breast following a mastectomy. This is considered a “major surgery,” causing some to speculate it could increase the risk of recurrence.
The researchers compared data from 250 patients who had DIEP flap breast reconstruction between 1999 and 2013 with data from more than 700 control patients (patients who did not have DIEP flap reconstruction).
The results of the study are as follows:
Breast Cancer Recurrence Rate:
19% in DIEP flap patients
23% in control patients
5 Year Survival Rate:
92% for DIEP flap patients
87% for control patients
These findings demonstrate there is no increased risk of breast cancer recurrence for women who undergo DIEP flap reconstruction compared to women who have mastectomy alone. In fact, the results show the survival rate is higher for the DIEP patients.
“The questions about the effects of reconstruction on recurrence and survival have been studied for implant reconstruction as well with similar findings. Although the results of this recent study are not new, it is great to see data presented that supports women in their wish to look and feel whole again after mastectomy,” says Dr. Gary Arishita.