Endoscopic Delayed Breast Reconstruction With Expanders and Implants via the Axillary Incision Made for Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy or Lymphadenectomy

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Abstract

Background

Classic techniques of delayed prosthetic breast reconstruction use the mastectomy scar as an access route. As a result, the filling of the expander must be postponed until the wounds have healed. This creates an asymmetry between the breasts with the volume changes caused by the filling of the expander, which may occur over several weeks and cause considerable discomfort.

Methods

Delayed breast reconstruction was performed via the axillary incision made for sentinel lymph node biopsy or lymphadenectomy with endoscopic assistance and detachment of the pectoralis major muscle. The filling of the expander and symmetrization with the contralateral breast was performed in the first stage.

Methods

The expander was replaced with the definitive prosthesis 3 months later, after endoscopic capsulotomy. Fat grafting was performed to create a lipobed around the implant and to improve tissue quality.

Results

Sixty-two patients underwent surgery. Mean follow-up was 19 months. There were no major complications in the reconstructed breast. One case of hematoma in a contralateral breast reduction and an oil cystic mass secondary to fat grafting were recorded. In all cases, the filling of the expander with the definitive volume was possible during the first stage.

Conclusions

Endoscopic delayed breast reconstruction with insertion of implants through the axillary incision for sentinel node biopsy or lymphadenectomy is safe and feasible. It achieves complete intraoperative expansion, symmetry between the volumes of the breasts during the first stage, and avoids problems with the scar and the risk of extrusion, as the scar is placed remotely in the axilla.

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