5 years ago

Wound Complications After Breast Reconstruction Procedures

Nickel KB, Olsen MA, et al., Fox IK


Few data are available concerning surgical site infection (SSI) and noninfectious wound complications (NIWCs) after delayed (DR) and secondary reconstruction (SR) compared with immediate reconstruction (IR) procedures in the breast.


To compare the incidence of SSI and NIWCs after implant and autologous IR, DR, and SR breast procedures after mastectomy.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This retrospective cohort study included women aged 18 to 64 years undergoing mastectomy from January 1, 2004, through December 31, 2011. Data were abstracted from a commercial insurer claims database in 12 states and analyzed from January 1, 2015, through February 7, 2017.


Reconstruction within 7 days of mastectomy was considered immediate. Reconstruction more than 7 days after mastectomy was considered delayed if the mastectomy did not include IR or secondary if the mastectomy included IR.

Main Outcomes and Measures

International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modificationdiagnosis codes for SSI and NIWCs.


Mastectomy was performed in 17 293 women (mean [SD] age, 50.4 [8.5] years); 61.4% of women had IR or DR. Among patients undergoing implant reconstruction, the incidence of SSI was 8.9% (685 of 7655 women) for IR, 5.7% (21 of 369) for DR, and 3.2% (167 of 5150) for SR. Similar results were found for NIWCs. In contrast, the incidence of SSI was similar after autologous IR (9.8% [177 of 1799]), DR (13.9% [19 of 137]), and SR (11.6% [11 of 95]) procedures. Compared with women without an SSI after implant IR, women with an SSI after implant IR were significantly more likely to have another SSI (47 of 412 [11.4%] vs 131 of 4791 [2.7%]) and an NIWC (24 of 412 [5.8%] vs 120 of 4791 [2.5%]) after SR. The incidence of SSI (24 of 379 [6.3%] vs 152 of 5286 [2.9%]) and NIWC (22 of 379 [5.8%] vs 129 of 5286 [2.4%]) after implant SR was higher in women who had received adjuvant radiotherapy. Wound complications after IR were associated with significantly more breast surgical procedures (mean of 1.92 procedures [range, 0-9] after implant IR and 1.11 [range, 0-6] after autologous IR) compared with women who did not have a complication (mean of 1.37 procedures [range, 0-8] after implant IR and 0.87 [range, 0-6] after autologous IR).

Conclusions and Relevance

The incidence of SSI and NIWCs was slightly higher for implant IR compared with delayed or secondary implant reconstruction. Women who had an SSI or NIWC after implant IR had a higher risk for subsequent complications after SR and more breast operations. The risk for complications should be carefully balanced with the psychosocial and technical benefits of IR. Select high-risk patients may benefit from consideration of delayed rather than immediate implant reconstruction to decrease breast complications after mastectomy.

Publisher URL: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamasurgery/fullarticle/2643998

DOI: 10.1001/jamasurg.2017.2338

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