Radiation can have long lasting impacts on the skin. Sometimes causing the skin to become very thick or very thin. In the case of breast tissue, radiation can cause the breast tissue to become quite firm, changing the nature of the underly tissue and skin. Also known as radiation arteritis. Radiation narrows the blood supply and the blood vessels to the skin of the radiated area. In turn the skin takes longer to heal and becomes more prone to infection. Requiring more post-op care. The risks of operating on the skin that has been radiated are higher for both surgical dehiscences (the incision coming apart) and for infection. Generally, for cases of radiation Dr. Jacobsen requires the wear of a brassiere for 24 hours a day and extends the length of prescribed antibiotics. Lessening the chances for infection and allowing greater time for healing. Going into surgery the patient and the doctor must enter an understanding that there will, or might be, some expected complications.
20 years ago, radiation was much more harsh and the impacts were more noticeable. Now, at times, it is even difficult to tell which side has been radiated on. More modern techniques have left the skin less injured, less rough and safer for reconstruction. Although you may not feel or see differences from radiation, their effects on the healing are quite present and persistent through time. Leaving the patient higher risk for complications. Dr. Jacobsen is very experienced dealing with higher risk patients and is here to comfort and take care of any needs or concerns you may have.