Breast surgery is an important part of the treatment in many conditions, such as abnormal breast development in women with congenital disorders. However, the majority of breast surgery procedures are breast reconstructions in women who have suffered from breast cancer. Breast amputation can have a large impact on the psychosocial wellbeing of women, and therefore, many women choose for a reconstruction. There are different reconstruction techniques that are commonly used.
Breast reconstructions after amputation
Plastic surgeon Yassir Eltahir compared the quality of life after different types of breast reconstructions. He compared the quality of life after a reconstruction technique that uses own body tissue (autologous), with the outcome of breast reconstruction using breast implants (alloplastic), and no breast reconstruction.
To evaluate how women rate their quality of life at different moments after the reconstruction procedure, plastic surgeon Irene Krabbe conducts a longitudinal study. In this study, women who have undergone an autologous reconstruction are compared with women who have undergone an alloplastic reconstruction. This study is conducted in cooperation with the Medical Center Leeuwarden.
Infections after breast reconstruction
After an alloplastic breast reconstruction, there is a risk for surgical site infection. This is a severe complication that can lead to implant loss. Geesje Roo-Brand coordinates a study concerning the epidemiological and microbiological aspects of these kinds of infections in cooperation with the Department of Medical Microbiology and the University of Oldenburg. In this cross border research project on the prevalence of and microbial diversity in surgical site infection in breast reconstruction surgery, we aim to investigate the differences in surgical site infections between hospitals in the Netherlands and Germany and investigate aspects of prevention, diagnostics and treatment.
The role of fat tissue in recurrent breast cancer
Despite advances in breast cancer treatment, patients still develop recurrent breast cancer leading to worse prognosis. Patients with triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) are most prone to develop such recurrences. The tumor microenvironment recently recognized as a contributor to tumor progression, might be a target for new approaches. A major component of the breast cancer microenvironment is adipose tissue (fat). Adipose tissue was regarded as an inactive energy stock. However, recent research suggests that adipose tissue might play a pivotal role in breast cancer progression. This changing insight in the role of adipocytes in breast cancer is of great importance for plastic surgeons. They largely influence the microenvironment in the surgical field.
Marlous Arjaans, PhD, started a research project to gain insight in how adipose tissue affects the breast cancer microenvironment. This might pave the way for novel approaches in order to guide plastic surgery interventions and ultimately potentially improve treatment options for patients with triple negative breast cancer.