Acellular dermal matrix (ADM) is commonly used during immediate expander-based breast reconstruction, with potential advantages of greater intraoperative expansion, decreased time to complete expansion, and decreased rates of capsular contracture. However, ADM is associated with increased infection rate, seroma, and subsequent reconstructive failure. Poly-4-hydroxybutyric acid (P4HB) mesh is a large pore, biosynthetic scaffold shown to fully resorb and incorporate host tissues within 18 months. We sought to compare outcomes between the use of P4HB and ADM in immediate retropectoral expander-based reconstruction.
One hundred ninety-two consecutive cases (107 patients) of breast reconstruction using ADM were compared with a subsequent cohort of 112 cases (62 patients) using P4HB mesh. In all patients, reconstruction was performed immediately after mastectomy by a single surgeon, and outcomes were compared between groups.
Baseline characteristics were similar between the P4HB and ADM groups. Overall infection rates were lower, but not significantly with P4HB (11% vs 17%, P = 0.18). Time to drain removal was significantly lower with P4HB (15 vs 18 days, P = 0.008), although there was no difference in rates of seroma (0.9% vs 3%, P = 0.43). Similar numbers of patients underwent external beam radiation (22% vs 24%) and received chemotherapy in each group (48% vs 45%). By univariate analysis, all odds ratios were decreased with use of P4HB, including risk of major complications (0.55), seroma (0.17), infection (0.59), need for reoperation (0.78), and skin necrosis (0.77).
Initial findings suggest P4HB mesh to be a safe alternative to ADM in expander-based breast reconstruction, with trends toward decreased rates of infection, seroma, and need for device removal using P4HB mesh. Although our results are limited to a small series of initial patients, P4HB mesh may be a promising novel technique to decrease complications inherent to use of ADM at a reduced material cost.