Background: This study evaluated patients who underwent primary breast surgery within a single group practice from 1994 to 2009. Reoperations were divided by reoperation reason into total reoperations and implant-specific reoperations. The authors hypothesized that the implant-specific reoperation rate will provide the most accurate measurement of complications caused by the breast implant device.
Methods: A total of 812 patients received the same brand of breast implant for primary breast augmentation or augmentation/mastopexy. Safety and efficacy data were recorded and complication rates were calculated. Statistics were applied using Kaplan-Meier estimated cumulative incidence calculations.
Results: This study included 482 patients with saline and 330 patients with silicone implants. The most common complications included capsular contracture, rippling, rupture, infection, and hematoma. A total of 8.2 percent of patients developed Baker grade III/IV capsular contracture by 6 years. The raw incidence of rippling was 7.1 percent, and the rate was significantly increased in underweight patients with subglandular saline implants (p = 0.045). The rate of total reoperation at 1 year was 14.2 percent. While a significantly increased rate of total reoperation was seen for silicone compared with saline implants (p < 0.01), no difference was seen in the rate of implant-specific reoperation for saline compared to silicone implants (p = 0.582).
Conclusions: The use of total reoperation rates as an indication of complications of breast implants can lead to both an overestimation of implant-related complications and the inaccurate conclusion that silicone implants result in higher complication rates than saline implants. The implant-specific reoperation rate may provide a more accurate incidence of implant complications than the total reoperation rate, which includes reoperations for factors unrelated to the implant.