Axillary Lymphadenectomy and Wound Complications in Implant-Based Breast Reconstruction

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BackgroundThe most common method of breast reconstruction in the United States today is implant-based reconstruction. However, reported complication rates are high, from 30% to 50%. Thus, it is important for reconstructive surgeons to identify factors associated with or contributing to wound complications after breast reconstruction. This study sought to identify associations between axillary lymph node dissection and postoperative wound complications in implant-based breast reconstruction.MethodsA retrospective chart review was performed of subjects undergoing breast oncologic and reconstructive surgery by a single breast surgeon and reconstructive surgeon, respectively, from 2013 to 2016. Medical records were reviewed of 273 subjects with 338 reconstructed breasts. Data were recorded on the extent of axillary node dissection and subsequent wound complications including seroma requiring percutaneous drainage, seroma requiring open drainage, wound dehiscence requiring local wound care, wound dehiscence requiring operative revision, implant exposure, and implant loss.ResultsAnalysis of the data demonstrated an increase in complication rates with extent of axillary lymph node dissection; however, these rates did not reach statistical significance. Statistically significant associations, however, were identified between wound complication rates and other known risk factors including increasing age and body mass index, as well as smoking status.ConclusionsAlthough an association between increasing complication rates and the extent of lymph node dissection has previously been reported, this study failed to demonstrate a statistically significant association with logistic regression analysis.

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