Breast skin necrosis can lead to poor healing, reoperation, and unaesthetic reconstructive outcomes after mastectomy. Furthermore, the prolonged recovery can delay adjuvant oncologic regimens. This study aims to explore the role of breast surface area as a risk factor for mastectomy skin flap necrosis and to identify predictive clinical measurements.
The authors retrospectively identified patients who underwent immediate breast reconstruction (N = 926 breasts) by 2 surgeons at a single institution between 2011 and 2021. Preoperative breast measurements such as nipple-notch (NN) distance, nipple-inframammary fold (NF) distance, chest width (CW), breast circumference (BC), and breast height (BH) were used to estimate breast surface area. Univariate analysis and receiver operating characteristic curves were used to determine predictive measurements and optimal cutoff values.
When approximated using either a cone without base or a half ellipsoid, larger surface area was a significant risk factor for mastectomy skin flap necrosis (P = 0.027 and P = 0.022, respectively). Larger NN, NF, CW, BC, and BH measurements were significant predictors of necrosis (P < 0.05). Surface area (cone without base) greater than 212 cm2, surface area (half ellipsoid) greater than 308 cm2, NN distance greater than 27 cm, NF greater than 8.5 cm, CW greater than 15 cm, BC greater than 29 cm, and BH greater than 10.5 cm are all values shown to increase the incidence of necrosis.
Larger breast surface area is an independent risk factor for breast skin necrosis. Preoperative breast measurements can be a useful adjunct for predicting necrosis in postmastectomy patients.