I may need chemotherapy for my breast cancer. Can I still have breast implants?

Last Modified: May 8, 2009

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I may need chemotherapy for my breast cancer. Can I still have breast implants?

Answer

Rachel McKenna, MSN, CRNP, Nurse Practitioner in the Division of Plastic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, responds:

Women who need post mastectomy chemotherapy are still candidates for implants. Sometimes we need to change surgery dates based on your chemotherapy. For example, we will postpone your second stage surgery (to remove the tissue expanders and place the implants) until you are a safe period of time from your last chemotherapy. This time period can vary from 3 weeks to several months and will be determined by your surgeon and medical oncologist. This gives your body the necessary time to recover. Women undergoing chemotherapy may also take longer to heal their incisions. This is normal and expected.