Background: When postmastectomy radiation therapy is anticipated, delaying autologous reconstruction prevents radiation delivery issues and radiation-induced contour irregularities. Delayed-immediate autologous breast reconstruction may allow for maintenance of the breast skin envelope as compared with delayed reconstruction with the temporary insertion of a tissue expander. The authors compared perioperative complications and revision surgery rates of comparative cohorts to determine which method is preferable.
Methods: Delayed-immediate reconstruction was defined as placement of a temporary tissue expander in the first stage at the time of mastectomy before flap reconstruction, which occurred following postmastectomy radiation therapy. Delayed reconstruction was categorized as mastectomy with primary closure in the first stage followed by flap reconstruction.
Results: One hundred fifty-two patients and 192 breasts met the study criteria for this retrospective review (delayed reconstruction, 118 breasts; delayed-immediate autologous breast reconstruction, 74 breasts). Patient age and body mass index were similar between groups (p > 0.05). Perioperative first-stage complication rates were 8.5 percent in the delayed group and 10.8 percent in the delayed-immediate cohort (p = 0.81). Total flap loss (2.5 versus 4.1 percent; p = 0.68) and arterial (1.7 versus 1.4 percent; p = 0.82) and venous (4.3 versus 5.4 percent; p = 0.73) anastomotic revision rates were similar between the cohorts, respectively. Reoperative surgery occurred in 11.9 percent versus 9.6 percent in the delayed and delayed-immediate cohorts, respectively (p = 0.69).
Conclusions: In comparing two treatment algorithms, flap-related complication rates are comparable. First-stage surgery results in a slightly increased complication rate in the delayed-immediate cohort. Improved overall results with delayed-immediate reconstruction are implied, given significantly decreased rates of revision surgery following flap reconstruction.
CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, III.