Breast reconstruction at the MD Anderson Cancer Center
The introduction of the transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap in the 1970s marks the beginning of modern breast reconstruction although implants were available even earlier mainly for breast augmentation. Mastectomy techniques have evolved from the early Halsted radical mastectomy to the modern skin sparing mastectomy. The latter made possible using implants for breast reconstruction. Although prosthetic reconstruction provides a simpler procedure with quick recovery, autologous reconstruction offers more natural and long-lasting results especially in the setting of radiotherapy. Both forms have been extensively used at the MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) while microsurgical breast reconstruction has been the hallmark of the MDACC experience. One of the most challenging areas of breast reconstruction is how to achieve good results without compromising adjuvant therapy when post-mastectomy radiotherapy is required. Managing upper extremity lymphedema following breast cancer treatment is another difficult issue which has gained great attention in recent years. This article highlights the important work in various aspects of breast reconstruction that has been done at the MDACC.