Background: Breast reconstruction (BR) is an option for women who are treated with mastectomy; however, there has been concern regarding the oncologic safety of BR. In this study, we evaluated recurrences and mortality in women treated with mastectomy and compared outcomes in those treated with mastectomy alone to those with mastectomy plus transverse rectus adbominis (TRAM) flap BR.
Methods: The prospective cohort study included women treated with mastectomy at Women's College Hospital from 1987 to 1997. Women with TRAM flap BR were matched to controls based on age and year of diagnosis, stage, and nodal status. Patients were followed from the date of diagnosis until death or date of last follow-up. Hazard ratios were generated to compare cases and controls for outcome variables using Cox's proportional hazards models.
Results: Of 443 women with invasive breast cancer, 85 subjects had TRAM flap BR. Sixty-five of these women were matched to 115 controls. The mean follow-up was 11.2 (0.4-26.3) years. There were no significant differences between those with and without BR with weight, height, or smoking status. Women with TRAM flap were less likely to experience a distant recurrence compared to women without a TRAM flap (relative risk, 0.42; P = 0.0009) and were more likely to be alive (relative risk, 0.54; P = 0.03).
Conclusions: Women who elect for TRAM flap BR after an invasive breast cancer diagnosis do have lower rates of recurrences and mortality than women treated with mastectomy alone. This cannot be explained by differences in various clinical or lifestyle factors.
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