Effective breast reconstruction in female veterans

Mimi Leong, Chuma J. Chike-Obi, C. Bob Basu, Edward I. Lee, Daniel Albo, David T. Netscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Despite increasing female veteran numbers, literature regarding reconstruction after breast cancer is lacking. The purpose of this study was to examine breast reconstruction referral rates and reconstruction outcomes at a tertiary Veterans Affairs hospital. Methods: Female breast cancer patients (1997-2008) were identified. Demographics, tumor stage, oncologic therapies, reconstructive timings and procedures, and complications were noted. Results: Eighty-two women underwent mastectomy (46%) or breast conservation (43%). The referral rates to plastic surgery were 61% (mastectomy) and 32% (overall). Reconstruction rates were 42% (mastectomy) and 22% (overall). Sixty-nine percent were suitable candidates and chose immediate (67%) or delayed (33%) reconstruction, with implant-based (44%), autologous (39%), or autologous plus implants (17%). There were complications (28%) but no mortalities. Comorbidities were not correlated with outcomes. Conclusions: Breast reconstruction can be effectively delivered within the Veterans Affairs system. It is essential that sufficient Veterans Affairs resources be deployed to address the increasing reconstructive needs of female veterans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)658-663
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast reconstruction
  • Female veterans
  • Multidisciplinary teams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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