Salvage of Infected Expander Prostheses in Breast Reconstruction

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Periprosthetic infection is a devastating complication following breast reconstruction with prostheses. Traditional surgical principles dictate removal of the prosthesis to control infection. Although successful salvage of prostheses in the presence of periprosthetic infections has been reported in the plastic and other surgical literature, salvage procedures remain seldom practiced. Reports in the plastic surgery literature have been limited to implant salvage following cosmetic breast augmentation and subcutaneous mastectomy with implants. Salvage of salinefilled expander prostheses used in breast reconstruction following mastectomy for cancer has not been previously reported. The authors review their experience with implant salvage in patients with periprosthetic infections following breast reconstruction for a 6-year period. Fourteen patients (13 with saline-filled expander prostheses and one with silicone prosthesis) underwent implant salvage. Salvage of the breast reconstruction was successful in nine patients. Staphylococcus aureus infection was associated with poorer salvage rate (p = 0.023). Previous radiotherapy to the chest wall did not affect the salvage outcome (p = 0.50). In selected patients, immediate salvage of a breast reconstruction in the presence of prosthesisrelated infection remains an alternative to implant removal followed by delayed reconstrucion.

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