The question below is answered byCharleston breast surgeon(opens in a new tab)Dr. James Craigie, ofThe Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction.(opens in a new tab)

What are some circumstances that may disqualify a patient for breast reconstruction? Any serious medical conditions which would prevent a patient from tolerating 4-8 hours of general anesthesia would prevent her from having flap reconstruction(opens in a new tab). Some medical conditions, such as diabetes, increase various risks (in particular, risks of wound healing problems), but do not disqualify the patient from having reconstruction. We do not perform reconstruction on patients who are currently cigarette smokers (or use nicotine in any form) because nicotine’s effects on wound healing after flap surgery is frequently catastrophic. However, most patients will clear all nicotine form their system after a month’s abstinence. Some very slender patients(opens in a new tab) do not have enough donor tissue anywhere on their bodies for flap reconstruction, but this is quite uncommon.

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