The ramifications of immediate reconstruction in the management of breast cancer

D. T. Holley, B. Toursarkissian, H. C. Vasconez, M. D. Wells, D. E. Kenady, D. A. Sloan, P. C. McGrath

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44 Scopus citations


A retrospective review of 50 patients who underwent immediate postmastectomy breast reconstruction was performed to determine the effect of reconstruction on the treatment of these patients. The overall complication rate was 50% (25 of 50). Smoking statistically correlated with an increased rate of wound complications (0 = 0.0001). Obese patients had nearly twice as many wound complications; however, this finding was not statistically significant (P = 0.261). Eleven of the 50 patients underwent reconstruction with a prosthesis, with an overall complication rate of 64% (seven of 11) and a 55% (six of 11) rate of prosthesis loss. Thirty-nine of the 50 patients underwent reconstruction with autologous tissue. Forty-six per cent (18 of 39) of the patients in the autologous group developed complications, and eight required emergent reoperation to prevent flap loss. The wound complication rate was significantly lower for bipedicled transverse rectus abdominis muscle (TRAM) flap reconstructions than for other forms of autologous reconstruction (P = 0.040). Total operative time (including mastectomy) was 3.11 hours (range, 2-4 hours) for the prosthetic group and 9.4 hours (range, 5-15 hours) for the autologous group. All but two patients undergoing autologous tissue reconstruction required blood transfusions; an average of 2.4 U of blood was transfused per patient (range, 0-7 U). Only two patients in the prosthetic group required a transfusion. The average hospital stay was 5 days (range, 2-7 days) for the prosthetic group and 8.3 days (range, 5-19 days) for the autologous tissue group. Both groups required an average of one additional procedure to complete the desired cosmetic result (prosthetic group: range, 0-3; autologous group: range, 0-6). Smoking and obesity are associated with an increased complication rate and should be considered in selection criteria. Although immediate reconstruction offers significant psychosocial benefits to patients undergoing mastectomy, the complication rates and the need for transfusion, prolonged hospital stays, and additional procedures must be considered when reconstruction is planned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-65
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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