In breast reconstruction, it is critical for patients and surgeons to have comprehensive information on the relative risks of the available options. However, previous studies that evaluated complications were limited by single-center designs, inadequate follow-up, and confounding.
To assess 2-year complication rates across common techniques for postmastectomy reconstruction in a multicenter patient population.
This longitudinal, multicenter, prospective cohort study conducted from February 1, 2012, through July 31, 2015, took place at the 11 study sites associated with the Mastectomy Reconstruction Outcomes Consortium study. Eligible patients included women 18 years and older presenting for first-time breast reconstruction with at least 2 years of follow-up. Procedures evaluated included direct-to-implant (DTI) technique, expander-implant (EI) technique, latissimus dorsi (LD) flap, pedicled transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (pTRAM) flap, free transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (fTRAM) flap, deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap, and superficial inferior epigastric artery (SIEA) flap.
Postmastectomy breast reconstruction.
Development of complications, reoperative complications, and wound infections during 2-year follow-up. Mixed-effects logistic regression analysis controlled for variability among centers and for demographic and clinical variables.
A total of 2343 patients (mean [SD] age, 49.5 [10.1] years; mean [SD] body mass index, 26.6 [5.7]) met the inclusion criteria. A total of 1525 patients (65.1%) underwent EI reconstruction, with 112 (4.8%) receiving DTI reconstruction, 85 (3.6%) pTRAM flaps, 95 (4.1%) fTRAM flaps, 390 (16.6%) DIEP flaps, 71 (3.0%) LD flaps, and 65 (2.8%) SIEA flaps. Overall, complications were noted in 771 (32.9%), with reoperative complications in 453 (19.3%) and wound infections in 230 (9.8%). Two years postoperatively, patients undergoing any autologous reconstruction type had significantly higher odds of developing any complication compared with those undergoing EI reconstruction (pTRAM flap: odds ratio [OR], 1.91; 95% CI, 1.10-3.31; P = .02; fTRAM flap: OR, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.24-3.40; P = .005; DIEP flap: OR, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.41-2.76; P < .001; LD flaps: OR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.03-3.40; P = .04; SIEA flap: OR, 4.71; 95% CI, 2.32-9.54; P < .001). With the exception of LD flap reconstructions, all flap procedures were associated with higher odds of reoperative complications (pTRAM flap: OR, 2.48; 95% CI, 1.33-4.64; P = .005; fTRAM flap: OR, 3.02; 95% CI, 1.73-5.29; P < .001; DIEP flap: OR, 2.76; 95% CI, 1.87-4.07; P < .001; SIEA flap: OR, 2.62; 95% CI, 1.24-5.53; P = .01) compared with EI techniques. Of the autologous reconstructions, only patients undergoing DIEP flaps had significantly lower odds of infection compared with those undergoing EI procedures (OR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.25-0.29; P = .006). However, DTI and EI procedures had higher failure rates (EI and DTI techniques, 7.1%; pTRAM flap, 1.2%; fTRAM flap, 2.1%; DIEP flap, 1.3%; LD flap, 2.8%; and SIEA flap, 0%; P < .001).
Significant differences were noted across reconstructive procedure types for overall and reoperative complications, which is critically important information for women and surgeons making breast reconstruction decisions.