Cosmetic and reconstructive surgery and risk of breast cancer

J. Y. Petit, P. Rey, F. De Lorenzi, M. Rietjens, C. Garusi, A. Giraldo, G. Gatti, A. Luini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cosmetic surgery of the breast has been performed since the onset of plastic surgery and nowadays it is a part of cancer treatment. In the last decades, cancer risk related to these procedures has been investigated, especially with regards to implant reconstructions. Experimental studies and clinical trials have been published testing different filling materials of prostheses, first in animals and then in human bodies. In no human study has a cancer transformation been induced by filling materials. Moreover, in the case of implant placement no evidence of delayed diagnosis of local recurrence or primary cancer has been described in literature. With regards to autologous tissue reconstructions, they do not add an increased risk of recurrences or secondary cancer. In addition, small areas of liponecrosis and liposclerosis inside the flaps can be easily investigated with ultrasonography and/or with a mammogram. Another cosmetic procedure is frequently proposed to improve final aesthetic results in patients who underwent a breast reconstruction: a reduction mastoplastly or mastopexy of the contralateral breast. This procedure adds a cancer benefit since a pathological examination of the reduction specimens is always performed. With regards to cosmetic breast augmentation, although the silicone prosthesis behind or above the gland decreased the percentage of breast tissue visualized with a mammogram, the ultrasonography allows a good evaluation both of the glandular tissue and the implant. In this paper we evaluate experimental and clinical data in literature concerning cosmetic and reconstructive surgery and risk of breast cancer. We conclude that breast cosmetic surgery should be considered as a safe procedure if performed after a careful 'carcinogenic' check-up preoperatively and planned pathological examinations of any specimen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-18
Number of pages5
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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