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Breast Reconstruction following Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy: Predictors of Complications, Reconstruction Outcomes, and 5-Year Trends

Colwell, Amy S. M.D.; Tessler, Oren M.D.; Lin, Alex M. B.S.; Liao, Eric M.D.; Winograd, Jonathan M.D.; Cetrulo, Curtis L. M.D.; Tang, Rong M.D.; Smith, Barbara L. M.D.; Austen, William G. Jr. M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: March 2014 - Volume 133 - Issue 3 - p 496–506
doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000438056.67375.75
Breast: Original Articles
Press Release

Background: Nipple-sparing mastectomy is increasingly used for treatment and prevention of breast cancer. Few data exist on risk factors for complications and reconstruction outcomes.

Methods: A single-institution retrospective review was performed between 2007 and 2012.

Results: Two hundred eighty-five patients underwent 500 nipple-sparing mastectomy procedures for breast cancer (46 percent) or risk reduction (54 percent). The average body mass index was 24, and 6 percent were smokers. The mean follow-up was 2.17 years. Immediate breast reconstruction (reconstruction rate, 98.8 percent) was performed with direct-to-implant (59 percent), tissue expander/implant (38 percent), or autologous (2 percent) reconstruction. Acellular dermal matrix was used in 71 percent and mesh was used in 11 percent. Seventy-seven reconstructions had radiotherapy. Complications included infection (3.3 percent), skin necrosis (5.2 percent), nipple necrosis (4.4 percent), seroma (1.7 percent), hematoma (1.7 percent), and implant loss (1.9 percent). Positive predictors for total complications included smoking (OR, 3.3; 95 percent CI, 1.289 to 8.486) and periareolar incisions (OR, 3.63; 95 percent CI, 1.850 to 7.107). Increasing body mass index predicted skin necrosis (OR, 1.154; 95 percent CI, 1.036 to 1.286) and preoperative irradiation predicted nipple necrosis (OR, 4.86; 95 percent CI, 1.0197 to 23.169). An inframammary fold incision decreased complications (OR, 0.018; 95 percent CI, 0.0026 to 0.12089). Five-year trends showed increasing numbers of nipple-sparing mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and more single-stage versus two-stage reconstructions (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Nipple-sparing mastectomy reconstructions have a low number of complications. Smoking, body mass index, preoperative irradiation, and incision type were predictors of complications.


Boston, Mass.

From the Division of Plastic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

Received for publication June 14, 2013; accepted September 10, 2013.

Presented at the 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in San Diego, California, October 11 through 15, 2013; the 58th Annual Meeting of the Plastic Surgery Research Council, in Santa Monica, California, May 2 through 4, 2013; and poster presentation at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, in New Orleans, Louisiana, April 20 through 23, 2013.

Disclosures: Amy Colwell, M.D., is a consultant for LifeCell Corp. and Allergan, Inc. She is a site investigator for the AirXpander clinical trial. There are no other disclosures.

Amy S. Colwell, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Division of Plastic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Mass. 02111,

©2014American Society of Plastic Surgeons