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Kelly K. Hunt MD, Bonnie J. Baldwin MD, Eric A. Strom MD, Frederick C. Ames MD, Marsha D. McNeese MD, Stephen S. Kroll MD, S. Eva Singletary MD
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Background: Postoperative radiotherapy (PORT) has been shown to decrease locoregional failure rates in high-risk breast cancer patients following modified radical mastectomy. However, there had not been a study evaluating the effect of PORT in patients after transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (TRAM) flap breast reconstruction. Therefore, we evaluated flap viability, cosmetic results, and locoregional recurrence in patients who underwent TRAM flap reconstruction and PORT.
Methods: The charts of patients who had undergone modified radical mastectomy with TRAM flap reconstruction and PORT at our institution were reviewed. Patients were examined in the clinic and interviewed by telephone to evaluate their perceptions of the cosmetic result.
Results: PORT was delivered to 19 patients with TRAM flaps (3 pedicled and 16 free flaps) between 1988 and 1994. There were no TRAM flap losses as a result of either surgical or radiotherapy complications. Two patients developed fat necrosis, one with a pedicled and one with a free TRAM flap. Patients with pedicled TRAM flaps noted more volume loss in the breast after radiation therapy. Eighty-four percent of patients felt their overall cosmetic result was excellent or good; only one patient reported a poor cosmetic result. Local control was achieved in three of the four patients who received PORT for local recurrence. There was only one local recurrence among the 14 patients who received PORT because they were at high risk of local recurrence.
Conclusions: These results suggest that PORT can be given safely to high-risk patients following TRAM flap breast reconstruction with excellent cosmetic results and good locoregional control.
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