Immediate expander-implant breast reconstruction (EIBR) with external beam radiation therapy (XRT) is pursued by many breast cancer patients; however, there is still a lack of consensus on the expected clinical outcomes. We performed a critical analysis of postoperative outcomes in EIBR patients with XRT exposure through a retrospective review from January 2007 to December 2013. Patients were stratified into three groups: exposure to preoperative XRT (XRT-pre), postoperative XRT (XRT-post), or no XRT (control). A subset of XRT patients with bilateral EIBR was assessed using a matched-pair analysis with the patients serving as their own controls. A total of 76 patients were included in the study. Major complications were observed in 6 of 8, 26 of 38, and 14 of 30 patients in the XRT-pre, XRT-post, and control groups, respectively, and were not statistically different (p > 0.05). EIBR failure rates were 13.3% in the control group compared to 50.0% in the XRT-pre group (p = 0.044) and 26.3% in the XRT-post group (p > 0.05). In the matched-pair analysis, 16 of 26 irradiated breasts developed complications compared to only 7 of 26 contralateral non-irradiated breasts (p = 0.043). In conclusion, we detected a significantly increased risk of complications in patients with pre-mastectomy radiotherapy. Patients with this history of XRT should strongly consider autologous reconstruction instead of EIBR to avoid the high risk of developing complications and subsequently losing their implant. Increased complications in irradiated breasts when compared to the contralateral non-irradiated breasts in bilateral EIBR patients confirmed the detrimental role of XRT in the setting of EIBR.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bjps.2015.08.032
View details for Web of Science ID 000367236800007