Help with post radiation wound healing

Hello Everyone,

I apologize for this long post. We desperately need advice, so kindly bear with me. My mother was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in April this year. She then had a lumpectomy followed by 6 weeks of radiation that ended in early July. During the last week of radiation, she developed an infection in he wound, but on the doctor's recommendation we continued with radiation.

After this the wound was refusing to heal, in spite of daily dressing using a special gauge. Then in early September, the doctor did a secondary surgery to close the wound, but about five days later, the wound reopened and was even more infected.

Finally, she did 32 sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) which just concluded on Tuesday. The doctor expected the wound to heal completely, but it is only 60% better. More importantly, there are still two open wounds (about 1" wide, 1/2" deep). We are deeply concerned that almost six months after lumpectomy, this is the situation.

The doctor after consulting with plastic surgeons, is now suggesting skin grafting or the use of a flap. My mother is concerned that if the breast tissue is dead, how will the new skin tissue graft onto that? Can anyone tell us about any experiences they've had with skin grafting or flaps in this situation? Could you also recommend someone we can go to for a second opinion? We are really desperate. Feeling quite lost.

Thank you so much.

Best,

Neha

1 Reply

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  • Radiated areas in body have reduced blood supply and hence issue with would healing. Hyperbaric oxygen does help to some extent and I believe it has helped her as well.

    The best person to guide now would be a plastic surgeon. Like you have been told, choice remains between skin graft and a flap. A flap is always better as it gives a good cosmetic and chance of healing is much better.

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