Cranial reconstruction for metastatic breast cancer PLASTIC AND RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY Sieveking, N. E., Turk, A. E., Beck, C. E., Harsh, G. 2000; 105 (5): 1737-1741


All women with advanced breast cancer who are medically stable despite their disease are candidates for tumor extirpation and reconstruction. Advanced breast cancer today is incurable, and many prognostic factors can be used to try to predict a clinical course and response to therapy; however, no guidelines are available. Our case report most likely represents a metastasis to the calvarium with intracranial extension, reported to occur in about 3 percent of primary breast cancer patients. As demonstrated here, tumor ablation with immediate, one-stage reconstruction of large scalp defects is possible without the need for free tissue transfer or a delay in adjuvant therapy. Local tissue rearrangement has been employed for coverage of defects up to 50 percent of the cranium. The resulting donor defects can be closed with split-thickness skin grafts over pericranium. Serial tissue expansion and rearrangement can be used secondarily to replace skin grafts with hair-bearing scalp. Bony defects can be managed with either autogenous or alloplastic materials. Split-calvarial bone grafts can be harvested from the same operative field and cover small to medium-sized defects. Other sources of autogenous grafts include split ribs and iliac bone. Metals, calcium ceramics, and polymers such as methylmethacrylate can be used to cover intracranial contents and restore calvarial contour when defects are large or when autogenous material is not available. Palliation from tumor burden, prevention of pathologic fracture and oncologic emergencies, controlling pain, and enhancing quality of life are the goals of the oncologic and reconstructive surgeons in cases of advanced breast cancer. These goals are becoming even more important as new forms and combinations of chemotherapy, radiation, and gene therapy are extending the life expectancy of women with breast carcinoma.

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View details for PubMedID 10809105