Autologous tissue is the criterion standard in breast reconstruction, but traditionally has been used as a secondary option after implant-based options because of reduced reimbursement relative to effort and required additional technical skill. We intended to evaluate the overall frequency and trends of autologous breast reconstruction (ABR), the trends of ABR in teaching versus nonteaching hospitals and the trends of ABR in different hospital regions in the United States.
Using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database, we examined the clinical data of patients who underwent immediate or delayed ABR from 2009 to 2016 in the United States.
A total of 146,185 patients underwent ABR during this period. The overall rate of ABR increased 112%, from 26.6% to 56.5%. The majority of ABR were delayed reconstructions (62.3%), which increased gradually from 54.9% to 80% during the study period. The overall frequency of flaps included the deep inferior epigastric perforator (32.1%), latissimus dorsi myocutaneous (28.4%), free transvers rectus abdominus myocutaneous (15.9%), pedicled transvers rectus abdominus myocutaneous flap (14.5%), gluteal artery perforator (0.6%), superficial inferior epigastric artery (0.6%), and unspecified-ABR (7.2%). Most ABRs were performed in teaching hospitals (78.6%) versus nonteaching hospitals (21.4%). The teaching hospitals' ABR rate increased from 70.5% to 88.7%. The greatest proportion of ABRs were performed in the south (39.6%) followed by northeast (23.0%), midwest (18.9%), and west (18.5%).
The deep inferior epigastric perforator flap has become the predominant ABR method in the United States. In addition to more delayed reconstructions being performed in recent years, ABR rates are increasing overall and shifting from pedicled flaps to free flaps.