Background: Acellular dermal matrix has become a common adjunct in prosthesis-based breast reconstruction. The authors' aim was to determine whether acellular dermal matrix use in immediate prosthesis-based breast reconstruction is associated with higher rate of complications.
Methods: Over a 5½-year period at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, 470 postmastectomy defects were reconstructed immediately using tissue expanders or implants. These were divided into two groups: reconstructions with or without acellular dermal matrix. Data were collected on patient comorbidities, radiation, intraoperative tumescent solution use, prosthesis size, initial fill volume, and complications.
Results: The risk for major infections that required prosthesis removal was elevated in the acellular dermal matrix group (4.9 versus 2.5 percent), but this increase did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.172). There was a statistically significant increase in overall wound infection rate in the acellular dermal matrix group (6.8 versus 2.5 percent, p = 0.031), but in a multivariate analysis, the use of acellular dermal matrix did not materialize as a significant risk factor for overall wound infection. Overall surgical complication rate was significantly higher in the acellular dermal matrix group at 19.5 percent, compared with the non–acellular dermal matrix group at 12.3 percent (p < 0.001). Other significant risk factors for overall surgical complication included smoking, higher body mass index, higher initial volume, and larger implant size.
Conclusions: Patient selection for prosthesis reconstruction involving acellular dermal matrix should be judicious, especially among smokers and patients with elevated body mass index. Even though the use of acellular dermal matrix allows higher initial volumes and reduced number of expansions, one should be careful about putting in too high of an initial volume.