Background: Neither outcome after total skin-sparing mastectomy and expander-implant reconstruction using acellular dermal matrix nor a strategy for optimal acellular dermal matrix selection criteria has been well described.
Methods: Prospective review of three patient cohorts undergoing total skin-sparing mastectomy with preservation of the nipple-areola complex and immediate expander-implant reconstruction from 2006 to 2010 was performed. Cohort 1 (no acellular dermal matrix) comprised 90 cases in which acellular dermal matrix was not used. Cohort 2 (consecutive acellular dermal matrix) included the next 100 consecutive cases, which all received acellular dermal matrix. Cohort 3 (selective acellular dermal matrix) consisted of the next 260 cases, in which acellular dermal matrix was selectively used based on mastectomy skin flap thickness. Complication rates were compared using chi-square analysis.
Results: The study included 450 cases in 288 patients. Mean follow-up was 25.5 months. Infection occurred in 27.8 percent of the no–acellular dermal matrix cases, 20 percent of the consecutive cases, and 15.8 percent of the selective cases (p = 0.04). Unplanned return to the operating room was required in 23.3, 11, and 10 percent of cases, respectively (p = 0.004). Expander-implant loss occurred in 17.8, 7, and 5 percent of cases, respectively (p = 0.001). Additional analysis of the odds ratios of developing complications after postmastectomy radiation therapy demonstrated a specific protective benefit of acellular dermal matrix in irradiated patients.
Conclusions: Acellular dermal matrix use in expander-implant reconstruction after total skin-sparing mastectomy reduced major postoperative complications in this study. Maximal benefit is achieved with selected use in patients with thin mastectomy skin flaps and those receiving radiation therapy.
CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, III.