Concerns exist that immediate breast reconstruction may delay adjuvant chemotherapy initiation, impacting oncologic outcomes. Here, the authors determine how postoperative complications impact chemotherapy timing, and identify factors associated with greater risk for delays.
Retrospective chart review identified patients undergoing immediate breast reconstruction and adjuvant chemotherapy at a single institution from 2010 to 2015. Patients were analyzed based on occurrence of postoperative complications and time to chemotherapy.
A total of 182 patients (244 breast reconstructions) were included in the study; 210 (86 percent) reconstructions did not experience postoperative complications, and 34 (13.9 percent) did. Patients who experienced postoperative complications had an older mean age (53.6 years versus 48.1 years; p = 0.002) and higher rates of diabetes (23.5 percent versus 3.8 percent; p < 0.001). The complication group had delays in initiation of chemotherapy (56 versus 45 days; p = 0.017). Patients who initiated chemotherapy more than 48.5 days after reconstruction were of older mean age (55.9 years versus 50.7 years; p = 0.074) and had increased rates of diabetes (36.8 percent versus 6.7 percent; p = 0.053) and immediate autologous reconstruction (31.6 percent versus 0 percent; p = 0.027). A predictive model determined that patients with at least one of these three risk factors have a 74 percent chance of experiencing prolonged times to chemotherapy initiation.
Risk factors for delayed chemotherapy in the context of postoperative complications are age older than 51.7 years, diabetes, and autologous reconstruction. Reconstructive candidates who fit this profile are at highest risk and merit extra consideration.
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