Does the Use of Incisional Negative-Pressure Wound Therapy Prevent Mastectomy Flap Necrosis in Immediate Expander-Based Breast Reconstruction?

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Abstract

Background:

Mastectomy flap necrosis is one of the most common and significant complications in immediate expander-based breast reconstruction. Negative-pressure wound therapy is widely used for open wounds but is not commonly used for closed incisional wounds. However, the postoperative use of incisional negative-pressure wound therapy is demonstrated to reduce complication rates. The authors evaluate the incidence of mastectomy flap necrosis in patients with incisional negative-pressure wound therapy after immediate expander-based breast reconstruction compared with the incidence in patients with conventional dressing.

Methods:

A retrospective review was conducted to identify patients who underwent immediate expander-based breast reconstruction between January of 2010 and February of 2015 at a single institution. Patients were divided into a conventional dressing group and an incisional negative-pressure wound therapy group. Patient demographics, intraoperative findings, and complications were compared between the two groups.

Results:

A total of 228 breasts (206 patients) were included in this study. Of these, the incisional negative-pressure wound therapy group included 45 breasts (44 patients) and the conventional dressing group included 183 breasts (162 patients). The incisional negative-pressure wound therapy group had a lower overall complication rate (11.1 percent versus 27.9 percent; p = 0.019), overall mastectomy flap necrosis rate (8.9 percent versus 23.5 percent; p = 0.030), and major mastectomy flap necrosis rate (2.2 percent versus 13.7 percent; p = 0.031) compared with the conventional dressing group.

Conclusions:

Incisional negative-pressure wound therapy reduced the incidence of mastectomy flap necrosis. This simple and reliable dressing technique can be effective in preventing mastectomy flap necrosis in immediate expander-based breast reconstruction.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, III.

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