Breast reduction in the irradiated breast: Evidence for the role of breast reduction at the time of lumpectomy

Brian M. Parrett, Carolyn Schook, Donald Morris*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Given the high incidence of breast cancer in our society, it is common to encounter patients with macromastia who desire breast reduction after breast-conserving therapy by lumpectomy and radiation. We hypothesize that radiation leads to a significant increase in postoperative complications after breast reduction. All patients with a history of unilateral breast lumpectomy and radiation who subsequently underwent bilateral breast reduction by a single surgeon from 2004 to 2008 were retrospectively reviewed. Outcomes including cellulitis, wound breakdown, seroma, and need for repeat operations were compared between the radiated and nonradiated breast. The Fisher's exact test was used for statistical analysis. Twelve patients (mean age, 57 years) underwent bilateral breast reduction a mean of 86 months after unilateral lumpectomy and radiation. The nonradiated breasts had no complications postoperatively. The radiated breasts had a significant increase in complications with a total of five breasts (42%, p < 0.04) having postoperative complications including cellulitis in two breasts, seroma requiring drainage in five breasts, two cases of fat necrosis, and one case of wound dehiscence. This resulted in two admissions for intravenous antibiotics and two repeat operative procedures. Additionally, three patients had significant breast asymmetry or contour deformities after reduction requiring operative revisions. Breast reduction after radiation leads to a significant increase in complications. Given this data, patients with macromastia undergoing breast conservation therapy for cancer should be considered for reduction at the time of lumpectomy and prior to radiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-502
Number of pages5
JournalBreast Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Breast reduction
  • Breast-conserving therapy
  • Radiation
  • Reduction mammaplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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