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Preventing Breast Implant Contamination in Breast Reconstruction: A National Survey of Current Practice

Gowda, Arvind U. MD; Chopra, Karan MD; Brown, Emile N. MD; Slezak, Sheri MD; Rasko, Yvonne MD

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0000000000000822
Breast Surgery

Background Implant-based breast reconstruction is commonly performed by plastic surgeons worldwide. Bacterial contamination is of paramount concern because of its role in biofilm formation and capsular contracture. Plastic surgeons have adopted a variety of perioperative interventions in efforts to reduce implant contamination; however, definitive evidence supporting these practices is lacking.

Objective The goal of this study was to assess current practice patterns aimed at reducing implant-related infections.

Methods A 20-question survey assessing practices aimed at preventing breast implant–associated infections was generated and distributed via SurveyMonkey to members of the American Society of Plastic Surgery whose e-mail addresses were listed on the American Society of Plastic Surgery member Web site in April 2015.

Results A total of 1979 invitations to participate in the survey were sent, and 253 responses were received during the 4-month study period. Of respondents, 81% were in private practice. Respondents averaged 21 ± 9 years in practice, and 34 ± 50 implant-based breast reconstructions were performed per year. A majority of surgeons used chlorhexidine to prepare the surgical site (52%), a triple antibiotic soak for the implant prior to placement (50%) and povidone-iodine for implant pocket irrigation (44%). A no-touch technique utilizing the Keller funnel was adopted by 69% of surgeons. Regarding antibiotic use in the postoperative period, first-generation cephalosporins (eg, cephalexin, cefadroxil) were used by a majority of surgeons (84%), and the most common duration was until drain removal (45%).

Conclusions There is considerable heterogeneity in surgical practices aimed at preventing bacterial contamination in implant-based breast reconstruction. Surgeons may benefit from high-level studies designed to create standardized evidence-based practice guidelines.

From the *Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine; and †Department of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD.

Received November 30, 2015, and accepted for publication, after revision, February 25, 2016.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.

Reprints: Yvonne Rasko, MD, 22 S Greene St. S8D09, Baltimore, MD 21201. E-mail:

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