Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Are 30-Day Outcomes Enough? Late Infectious Readmissions following Prosthetic-Based Breast Reconstruction

Collier, Willem B.S.; Scheefer Van Boerum, Melody M.D.; Kim, Jaewhan Ph.D.; Kwok, Alvin C. M.D., M.P.H.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: September 2019 - Volume 144 - Issue 3 - p 360e-368e
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000005903
Breast: Original Articles

Background: Surgical-site infection is a major concern in prosthetic-based breast reconstruction. Thirty-day postoperative readmission rates are a common quality metric, but little is known about readmission rates for later infections.

Methods: Using the 2013 to 2014 Nationwide Readmissions Database, the authors identified breast cancer patients undergoing breast reconstruction with implants and tissue expanders who had an infectious readmission. The authors used univariate and multivariate logistic regression models to identify predictors of infectious readmission and explantation within the early (0 to 30 days) and late (31 to 90 days) postoperative periods.

Results: In the weighted sample, the authors identified 18,338 patients undergoing prosthetic-based breast reconstruction. The overall infectious readmission rate was 4.1 percent (n = 759): 49.3 percent occurred early and 50.7 percent occurred late. Of the infectious readmissions, 39.5 percent required explantation, 55.1 percent of which occurred during a late infectious readmission. Seventy-five percent of these infectious readmissions and explantations occurred within 49 days of initial surgery. Median annual household income less than $40,000 (p = 0.035), diabetes (p = 0.038), and obesity (p = 0.004) were independent predictors of infectious readmission. Diabetes (p = 0.049) and hypertension (p = 0.011) were independent predictors of early readmission. Median annual household income less than $40,000 (p = 0.049), obesity (p = 0.006), and increasing length of stay during the index procedure (p = 0.028) were independent predictors of late readmission. No statistically significant independent predictors for explantation were identified.

Conclusions: Traditional 30-day readmission rates are not an adequate quality metric for breast reconstruction given the number of late postoperative readmissions, many of which lead to explantation. Early and late infectious readmissions have different predictors. Interventions targeting these predictors may decrease the number of readmissions, thus reducing cost and improving quality.


Salt Lake City, Utah

From the Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Utah School of Medicine, and the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training, University of Utah College of Health.

Received for publication April 20, 2018; accepted January 10, 2019.

Presented at the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Mountain West Society of Plastic Surgeons, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, March 8 through 11, 2018; and Plastic Surgery The Meeting 2018, Annual Meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in Chicago, Illinois, September 28 through October 1, 2018.

Disclosure:The authors have no disclosures to report.

Related digital media are available in the full-text version of the article on

Alvin C. Kwok, M.D., M.P.H., Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Utah School of Medicine, 30 North 1900 East, 3B400, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132,

Copyright © 2019 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons